Three dlements underlie why I’m heading to the conference.
Element 1: Networking
One morning my officemate asked me: “Do you know the nonlinear optics conference is in Hawaii?” Me: “No.” I must say Hawaii is good place for a conference.
So I looked up the committee chairs and invited speakers and wished to go. Steve Harris—my dissertation advisor’s dissertation advisor will be there. Steve Cundiff, who edited the book "femtosecond optical frequency comb technology" and recently published “Optical arbitrary waveform generation” (which is closely related to what I am working on) in Nature Photonics, is one of the program chairs. Also the conference will have a symposium celebrating the 50th anniversary of the nonlinear optics.
Element 2: The negotiation workshop given by APS
At the 2011 APS meeting in Dallas, APS gave a FREE (Yes, free, everything paid) professional skill development workshop. One presentation is about negotiation skills. Two key things I learned: a) you don’t get it if you don’t ask; b) negotiation is not selfish and it is for the benefits of both sides, at least as far as a faculty position is concerned. Both you and the school want you to settle down well and succeed. Negotiation lays the terms necessary to do so.
By the end we had one assignment: Ask for something you want but do not need.
Going to Hawaii is a lot of money. 11 hours of flight time. Hotels, registration fee. But I thought, this could be a good exercise.
I gathered courage and sent my advisor an email in which I proposed I pay part of the fees.
Several days later, he came in and told me. Go ahead and submit an abstract. Money is tight but should not be a big problem.
That leads to the 3rd element.
Element 3: Nice experimental results!
I have been working on this project--Pulse-shaper-assisted phase control of a broadband coherent Raman spectral comb--for one and a half years. Finally in March we obtained some beautiful results. Therefore I do have some nice figures to put in the abstract. I am writing a paper anyway so I prepared an abstract and submitted.
Now, Bingo! I am going the Hawaii’s fourth largest island. I have been to the first 3 islands so this would be a totally different experience.
When Nicolas from FastLite in France asked me whether I am going to any conferences in European countries, I said no but I am going to Hawaii. Here is his response:
NLO in Hawaii... wow... seems much better than Europe :-D !
I am getting excited.