Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How does it work?
A: In the weeks leading up to the conference, speakers post videos of their talks, organized by topic into sessions. During the 2-week period of the conference itself, participants watch talks on their own schedule and use the commenting feature to ask questions or make remarks. Speakers will regularly check the comment sections during the conference period to continue the mathematical conversation! (P.S. You can use basic LaTeX code in the comments!)
A: While in-person conferences certainly have many virtues, some of which we can't hope to duplicate, we believe this format has strengths of its own. (As mentioned above, Ken Hiltner's white-paper was a formative influence on our perspective.)
- Lower carbon emissions: A large portion of many university's carbon footprints (UCSB estimated a full third!) come from the air travel that faculty, staff, and students take to attend conferences.
- Accessibility: We hope the asychronous nature of this conference will make it easier for mathematicians who live around the world in many time zones, are balancing many responsibilities to students, families, and themselves, may not have access to travel funding, and/or have disabilities making physical travel more challenging to participate. In addition, YouTube automatically generates closed captioning of talks, and we strongly encourage speakers to review and edit that captioning.
- Low risk: While the NCN Conference idea significantly predates the emergence of COVID-19 as a global phenomenon, the widespread cancellation of mathematical conferences and workshops was a major reason why we decided that the time is right for an NCN Geometric Topology conference. We hope this conference will help maintain a sense of community among mathematicians in this area, as well as supporting ongoing research and new collaborations!
Q: How long should my talk be? What format should it be in?
A: Attention spans are usually shorter for videos than in person, so you have two options: a) give a short (<25 minute) talk or b) split your talk into two sections (overview and details, or according to your session leaders' preferences), each no more than 25 minutes. We hope this will also be an advantage for the conference participants- you can watch the 'Overview' videos for a wider range of talks, and then decide which topics you want to know more about.
Q: What should my talk look like?
A: That's pretty much up to you! A previous NCN conference produced some videos about how to record a video or combine a slide presentation with voice-over, which may be useful. There are plethora of options, and perhaps you're becoming newly aware of some of them as you adjust to remote teaching. We follow these recommendations: "Regarding format, the video file should either be an .mp4 or .mov. The resolution should be 720p (i.e. 720 x 1,280 pixels) or 1080p (1080 x 1,920). Anything higher, such as 2k or 4k resolution, is unnecessary. " We will send all speakers instructions about how to upload their talks to YouTube.