The last time I was in Ann Arbor was 1981, for the simultaneous-but-separate meetings of the Hennig Society and the Numerical Taxonomy Society — long ago and a very different time. Those meetings represented warring factions. Very few of us walked between buildings to attend both meetings, and those of us who did were no doubt noticed. My brother David had the brilliant idea of making T-shirts for the two primary belligerents (the cladists and the pheneticists) in the style of warring soft drinks. Since he made them, he got to choose which shirt to wear. Here is a photo of the two of us in the T-shirts, though two years later (thankfully, beards had been grown in the meantime). David’s in the “Cladistics..it’s the real thing” shirt. I’m rather proud of our chutzpah for having worn those T-shirts to the meetings, and impressed at our survival.
This time in Ann Arbor, the Systematic Biology meeting has been full of great data and thoughtful discussion, a great blend of enthusiasm, hope, and caution. Lacey Knowles, Brian O’Meara, Dan Rabosky and team organized it perfectly in minimalist style: a single-sheet program, no swag, just discussions over round tables and intense lightning talks in rows.
The other change since 1981 has been the cost of meetings. Note the cost of the NT meeting registration on the scan shown here, and compare it to the last meeting you attended!