Don’t let the outside appearance fool you. This isn’t President Obama’s customized bus with bulletproof black windows, puncture-proof tires, five-inch thick doors, and its own oxygen supplies. Instead, this more modest bus is the preferred mode of transport for the geneticists, bioinformaticians, and biologists attending the annual Computational and Genomic Biology Retreat at the Marconi Conference Center.
An hour and a half trip starts from UC Berkeley Campus and crosses the bay by the San Rafael bridge. In the meantime, we have time to talk about whatever happened the day before and other things of minor scientific relevance compared to what we are going to hear and discuss in the talks at the retreat.
There are always points of controversy and topics of debate but we all agree in one thing that admits no critics: the extremely comfortable chairs in the conference hall. At first I wish we could have some of them in the lab, but then I think it twice and I detect its obvious dangers. With chairs like these, we would be so tempted to relax and forget our academic mission.
We also thank the organizers for the well organized agenda and the necessary breaks that we all need. I am one of those guys that hate those marathonic conferences without those essential breaks that allow you to do networking, exchange ideas, discuss interesting questions, and of course, keep well hydrated and be able to enjoy some snacks.