The art of perusing the program guide.

The Biophysical Society Program Guide is a beast. Throughout the conference, we’re all flipping through it page by page in the back of talks, trying to figure out what is the best use of our time. Some even skip sessions so they can concentrate on studying the program. I’ve yet to find my own perfect zen to navigate this guy, but as this is now my fifth time attending this conference, I thought a buzz-feed-esque top five ways to peruse your program guide, might be in order:

1. The classic: pen and paper.

A tried and true method popular among veterans and rookies alike. Part of the appeal of this method is its flexibility: boxes for people you know, stars for that demi-god of your field, smiley faces for clever titles, underlines for things you’re interested in but are not at all related to anything you do, etc.

2. The techy: fancy PDF highlighting on your super cool tablet.

I tried this last year using an Evernote app on my tablet. I looked forward to having the flexibility of pen and paper, but without having to lug around this huge ridiculous book. Sadly, the PDF was so big it took a long time to load and a long time to save. One time I even lost all the amazing little pink bubbles I made around the Tuesday Posters I wanted to check out. Needless to say, I’m back to more traditional methods this year… It is possible that the BPS 360 App, has made this a new and amazing experience, but… I haven’t tried it…

3. The PDF: mobile, simple.

Download the PDF (47.8 MB). Look at it on your phone. Search for things on your phone. Write gmail drafts to yourself if you need to remember a poster number or room number.

4. The company line: Biophysical Society’s web-based program guide.

It’s here. I have been using it to search for specific things when I’m doing other things on my computer anyway, or if I am hankering for another dose of that awesome fake page turning sound.

5. The random walk: there’s a program guide?

Follow your friends/labmates/PI’s. If you lose them, wander aimlessly until you make new friends, happen into something interesting, or decide to check out the aquarium on your own.