That was the unmentioned title of yesterday’s group meeting. We try to do this every year, and so one of the first meetings of the year is us sitting together, eating our lunches, chatting about ideas. We basically catch up, and chat about things we learned about from Summer travels, perhaps from conferences, schools or workshops. We also mention what we’ve been up to in terms of projects worked on, work in progress, etc. I find the latter especially useful from the standpoint of student development, since it is often the first time that a student gets to tell a wider audience (but in a safe environment) a little about what they are doing, often their first projects. Even a few minutes summarizing what you have been doing can be daunting at the early stages of your research career, so this is a good place to start.
Talking about things that we’ve learned are going on in the larger community (or even just within the group) is also a great place to start planning what we might have as seminar topics in the coming season, so this is a crucial type of group meeting to have. I think it went rather well, and really enjoyed hearing from everybody, especially the newer students I’d not heard talk about physics much before.
This all bodes well for an excellent year in the group.