The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny...' --Isaac Asimov
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Astrobiology Science Conference 2012

April 19th, 2012 by eric

I’m in Atlanta, Georgia this week for AbSciCon 2012, one of my favorite scientific conferences. I’ve only missed one since my first in 2000 at NASA Ames, and over the years I’ve seen Astrobiologists evolve into a more confident, more mature community of scientists. This year I’m excited that there are more presentations on Science Communication, Science Outreach, and Science and Society than there have ever been before, which shows that the community takes those responsibilities seriously. There was also a very nice memorial session for those in the community that have passed away since the last meeting. It was touching and really showed how tight the community has become over the past decade.

My first talk, on Monday, was coauthored with Boswell Wing and entitled “Unraveling the Genetic Basis of an Ancient Geochemical Biomarker: Sulfur Isotope Fractionation” [PDF].

My poster was on Tuesday, re-used from a previous conference: “hima: A Meta-Database for Genomes, Metagenomes, and Phenotypes from Cold Environments” [PDF]. Multiple visitors to my poster offered support, and one is now a potential collaborator on a NASA proposal to fund ‘hima’!

My second talk, co-authored with Paul Higgs, will be on Friday, titled “Testing the Infinitely Many Genes Model for the Evolution of the Bacterial Core Genome and Pangenome” [PDF].

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