The second day has Ashleigh Griffin, me, Koos Boomsma, Ben Hatchwell, then, in the afternoon, Sam Brown, Toby Kiers, Francisco Ubeda, and Thom Scott-Phillips. Please look them up, for they are too many to link to. Follow meeting tweets at #kinsel.
We’re out in the countryside over an hour from Heathrow at Chicheley Hall. It is cool and cloudy. There are lichens on the gravestones in the churchyard, their circles likely wargrounds of microbial competition, growing too slowly for good experimental subjects.
Another group played croquet on the lawn. The tomatoes in the vegetable garden are not yet ripe. The poppies and onions have gone to seed. Dinner was cold salads, fishes, mostly smoked, cheeses, good wine, even better conversation. This is a large part of the kin selection elite. I wish you were here. But there’s only 20 of us, so, if you do the arithmetic only 4 are not speaking.
I’m trying to decide what I think about these small, exclusive meetings. I go to more and more of them, the Biological Markets workshop (not so small), the Xenophobia workshop, the Animal Behavior workshop, and now this, if I’m not forgetting something. They are fun, but lack the element of meetings where you can see a glimmer in the eye of a new student, the start of a passion for this kind of science.
I suppose it is like everything else, a mix is good. Small meetings, large meetings, meetings just for students, meetings just for the silverbacks, young and old. I feel a responsibility to my community to learn a lot here, to understand better the role of theory in my research.
I hope they allow tweeting and I’ll share what’s going on. For now I’ll learn and learn, and watch how the interactions go. So far it has been great fun. It should make me a better researcher and professor. After all, where else would I have learned of the ham sandwich theorem from Peter Taylor? And where else would the padded walls and curtains of the dining hall have had a flea motif, no doubt for Miriam Rothchild, that famous rich person and entomologist?