Why Attend?

Mark Mifsud’s Welcome to the APEMC 2020 Symposium statement touches on many aspects of the technological world within which we all dwell and function on a daily basis. He is absolutely correct in his assertion that attending the Symposium is an opportunity to network with the who’s who in the field as well as peers and colleagues from across the globe. The span of offerings at the Symposium range from testing to research, from standards to design, and from the esoteric to the pragmatic.

All of that sounds great, but “What’s in it for ME?”, you might ask. Let me try to expand on Mark’s comments a little …

Attendance at a Symposium is the gold standard for peer review at the practitioner level. Peer review takes on many forms at Symposia. Of course, if you have submitted a paper, it will be reviewed by multiple volunteers who have technical expertise in the concentration of your paper. They will read and provide comments meant to improve the document itself, but more importantly, their inputs can perhaps open up a different focus on our topic, or perhaps other ways of looking at your topic you hadn’t considered. Once your paper has made it through this process, then you have the priceless opportunity to share your work with other Symposium attendees. After all of this, you may well learn more about your paper’s topic than you ever thought possible and taking that back to the workplace can pay dividends over the span of a career.

Of course, this process works the other way ‘round as well (yet another application of reciprocity!). At the same time your paper is going through all of the aforementioned peer review scrutiny, you get to do your own peer reviewing of other attendee’s efforts. In that process you will expand your own understanding and knowledge about EMC well beyond what you may have encountered prior to attendance. In that process you will find the opportunity to meet and converse with colleagues that share your experience and expertise, that share your interests and areas of research, that may be truly experts in the field that are both happy and willing to speak with you not only about their own work, but about your particular topic of interest as well.

But what if you haven’t submitted a paper? In that case, you do miss out on your own paper’s review, but you still are able to engage in the reciprocal aspects. OK, “That’s Good!”, you say, “… but what else?”

You could attend the Antenna course presented by Prof. Balanis, a world-class authority on all things antenna. In the class, not only are you exposed to Prof. Balanis’ own interpretation of his materials, but you also have the opportunity to ask questions of this outstanding and highly knowledgeable expert. Prof. Balanis is joined by two other recognized exerts in the field, Zhong Chen from ETS Lindgren, and Dennis Lewis from Boeing Corporation.

You could take advantage of the chance to engage with “that vendor” you have been trying to contact, or perhaps you are doing a bit of comparative shopping between more than one vendor. Attendance at the Symposium will definitely provide both opportunities, all in one place as it were. Multiple vendors will be present, and they all want to speak with you regarding your special needs and how they might be able to satisfy them.

The social aspects of attendance are equally important to a successful career. After all, it really is who you know that can make a difference in your particular problem, or perhaps your next employment opportunity! Sort of the old “I told two friends, who told two friends, etc.” happens, and before you know it, you’re standing having a conversation with the one person who knows how to solve your quandary, or who might turn out to be your next co-worker, employee, or boss!

Finally, attendance at the Symposium offers the opportunity to visit Sydney, the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Sydney’s estimated metropolitan population is greater than 5,000,000 souls, with more than 45% of them having been born overseas and speaking more than 250 different languages. Sydney ranks in the top ten of the most livable cities in the world, and with its significant concentration of foreign banks and multinational corporations has influence across the Asia Pacific region and throughout the world. Established in 1850, the University of Sydney is Australia’s first university and is regarded as one of the world’s leading universities. Sydney is also home to the oldest library in Australia, State Library of New South Wales, opened in 1826. For sightseers and nature lovers, Sydney offers in excess of 2,500,000 acres of nature reserves and parks, including Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park, Royal Botanic Garden and Hyde Park, the oldest parkland in the country. Of course, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House are well known to international visitors.

Hopefully, the foregoing together with Marks Welcome message has answered the question “What’s in it for ME?” or put another, simpler way, “Why Attend”.

Dr Robert Scully
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Plenary Speaker at APEMC