AAS 2020AAS were due to hold their 236th meeting in Madison in early June, and have switched to a 3-day version of their usual summer conference (slimmed down from 4 days). The bulk of the meeting will be held in real time, restricted to those who register, and captured for later access by registrants who might have missed something in real time. Recordings of the plenary talks will be made freely available to all AAS members. Science sessions will be parallel 90-minute sessions of short talks arranged thematically, with iPoster (digital interactive) contributed posters and iPoster-Plus (presentations featuring short talks illustrated with iPosters), also arranged thematically. There would still be press conferences, but they decided not to include splinter meetings.
AAS will be using Zoom Webinars (not Zoom Meetings) for science sessions and plenaries. A “host” and a small number of “participants” control the meeting and give the presentations, while the “attendees” (from dozens to hundreds) are not seen, heard, or able to control anything or share their screens. Attendees may ask questions and respond to polls initiated and controlled by the host or participants. I've seen iPosters presented at DPS meetings, where authors use standard templates to create a digital iPoster, which is then available online shortly before, during, and after the conference. iPosters can include audio narration; high-resolution, zoomable images; videos and animations; and text with (or without) embedded hyperlinks. In addition, iPosters include a "chat" feature that allows someone viewing an iPoster to interact in real time with the author.
Leigh: I really like the idea of the iPosters, and have seen these in action before. Having the regular orals delivered realtime via webinars means a substantial inconvenience for anyone in a different time zone, but at least they will be recorded and so could be viewed later (by attendees at least). Speakers will only be answering questions during the live sessions, but there can be virtual rooms after sessions to continue the conversation.
EAS 2020The European Astronomical Society Annual Meeting (formerly known as EWASS) was due to be held in Leiden in late June, and has moved to an online meeting using a custom-built platform from their organisers, Kuoni. It seems that registration fees are being refunded, but that the virtual meeting will charge a reduced fee (€80 for 5 days, €50 for one day). According to their FAQ page, the meeting will still take place over 5 days, with some elements live, and some pre-recorded. It looks like they'll also stick to the Central European time zone, just like AAS is sticking to the US time zone, making it a challenge for participants in time zones greatly removed. For registered participants the presentations (platform and posters) will be made available after the meeting for a limited period of time (TBD). They are aiming to use interaction options like chat, Q&A and live polling, and there will be ePoster sessions.
Leigh: The virtual EAS is still evolving, but also seems to be aiming to use the regular time slot for their meeting, rather than distributing it over a longer time period. It'll be interesting to see how the real-time and asynchronous aspects of the conference blend together.