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While conferences are great places to hear talks about what new science and technologies are popular in your field, they also present an opportunity to network and meet other researchers. "I think it is generally agreed that for conferences, the main benefit is meeting people," says Ed Green, an assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. There may be some good talks, he adds, but if that's all you see, then you are not getting your money's worth — you need to meet people.

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