I was recently asked to sit on the organizing committees for a couple of scientific meetings, and, almost at the same time, stumbled across Scientists in Conference: The Congress Organizer’s Handbook, by Volker Neuhoff, in my departmental library, and rapidly came to appreciate its charms. It is a comprehensive aide for the conference organizer with a lot of good general tips although the specifics are now rather outdated. Some comments on the secrets of good chairmainship are also hidden inside, and the author emphasises the importance of the social aspects of conferences. There is a lovely note in the ‘Postface’ on issues with the translation from the original German, and the joint work between the author and the Australian chemist Robert Schoenefeld on this really shines.
In addition, it also provided reference to an article published in the British Medical Journal on Christmas Eve of 1983, called ‘Dreaming during scientific papers: effects of added extrinsic material‘, by Harvey, Schullinger, Stassinopoulos and Winkle, investigating sleeping and dreaming during scientific talks. Like the book above, this is, in many respects, of its time, but the apparent prevalence of sleeping during medical conferences in 1983 is quite impressive.