Why Go to BEMS Annual Meetings?

Earlier this month, we asked members of the Board of Directors why they attend BEMS meetings.  Here are the responses from some of the Board members:

Departing Past President Joachim Schuz noted that for him “BEMS is the top meeting to discuss the newest scientific findings on EMF in an interdisciplinary and inspiring atmosphere and for building networks for future research. The structure of the program is the ideal balance between getting information and allowing mutual exchange of opinions and ideas.”

Incoming President Richard Nuccitelli commented “the main reason that I attend BioEM2013 can be summed up in one word: Networking. While the program attracts us to the meeting, I find that it is the personal interactions that I benefit from the most. Where else can you literally bump into most of the researchers in your field and strike up a conversation? Where else can you learn what experimental approach did not work along with the latest techniques that work the best? How can you put a value on a conversation that could save you months of research time? You can’t because attending BioEM2013 is invaluable.”

Outgoing Treasurer Phil Chadwick said that “it's mostly about catching up:  Catching up with what people are talking about, catching up with the latest developments - and also catching up with friends and colleagues. It's the only time our community comes together and I think there is as much to learn from discussions over coffee as there is from the papers.”

Technical Program Chair Meike Mevissen responded that “The BEMS meeting offers an intimate setting to engage with colleagues and collaborators on the cutting edge science in bioelectromagnetics.  While other meetings like EuroTox and SOT (Society of Toxicology) offer greater diversity, they seldom allow me to intensely address one field.”

Jeong-Ki Pack
, At-Large Board member through 2014, regrets that he cannot attend this particular meeting due to personal matters, but notes that

“The reason why I [try to attend] the meeting every year is that the BEMS meeting is the best conference for presenting the research results in the area of bioelectromagnetics. My research interests are focused on dosimetry, measurement standards, and medical applications. I can present papers in other conferences, but I think the BEMS meeting is the most appropriate one because the topics are interdisciplinary.  It should be noted, however, that there are many other conferences in the engineering area, such as IEEE EMC, AP, etc.
According to my experience with Korean colleagues, researchers in biology area think a little bit differently. There seems to be no reason why they should prefer the BEMS conference. They can present their papers in other conferences in biology area as they did before, which might be even preferred because they can meet more of their friends and colleagues compared to the BEMS meeting.  Usually I, and my colleagues, who are partly in charge of Korean EMF study encourage them to attend the BEMS meeting.  That is why the number of Korean participants are large every year.  My opinion is that now we have to think more deliberately about how to give them some more motivation for attending the BEMS meeting.”

So, what do you think is a meaningful motivation to encourage others to attend BEMS meetings?  Please send your responses to news@bems.org for publication in the next issue of the newsletter.  Your ideas can help the incoming Board members improve future meetings to attract new members to BEMS.