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Submission + - Physics Forum at Fermilab Bans Powerpoint

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Amanda Solliday reports at Symmetry that six months ago, organizers of a biweekly forum on Large Hadron Collider physics at Fermilab banned PowerPoint presentations in favor of old-fashioned, chalkboard-style talks. “Without slides, the participants go further off-script, with more interaction and curiosity,” says Andrew Askew. “We wanted to draw out the importance of the audience.” In one recent meeting, physics professor John Paul Chou of Rutgers University presented to a full room holding a single page of handwritten notes and a marker. The talk became more dialogue than monologue as members of the audience, freed from their usual need to follow a series of information-stuffed slides flying by at top speed, managed to interrupt with questions and comments. Elliot Hughes, a Rutgers University doctoral student and a participant in the forum, says the ban on slides has encouraged the physicists to connect with their audience. “Frequently, in physics, presenters design slides for people who didn’t even listen to the talk in the first place,” says Hughes. “In my experience, the best talks could not possibly be fully understood without the speaker.”
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Physics Forum at Fermilab Bans Powerpoint

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