Things that I learned from posters, presentations and lectures at SfN this year will play themselves out in my research and career direction, but there were other notables which were not so directly translatable. Here are my not-necessarily-scientific take-aways from SfN 2010:
1. Had anyone told me growing up that learning multiple languages with any degree of volubility would be very important in my communication with other scientists, I would have put more effort into Spanish, German and French. Four years of Latin does me worlds of good in reading, but in deciphering various accents and breaking language barriers... repetition and speaking loudly were my only saving tools last week. It is very humbling that all of these wonderful minds, to whom English is a second language, have learned it so fluently.
2. Although it was immense fun to spend a week on a yacht in a nearby harbor, I think that I would have gotten more out of staying closer to the convention center. By the time 7pm approached and I had mosied back to my boat, had a bite to eat (on those nights when we did not go out to eat) and relaxed, another twenty minute drive back to the convention center area for any of the satellite events was less appealing. ... and I do regret missing out on some of those -- thank goodness for Neuroblogger reports!
3. Limiting my content was certainly helpful, and the best approach for me. What happened was that I made sure that I got to everything on my list, and then ventured out into other subfields (olfaction, methodologies, learning and memory). Next year, I think I will venture even further, as I still limited this extended content to its relation to my methodologies, or my circuits, or my disease.
4. Taking two afternoons to explore the city was essential.