Guidelines for RPM Speakers, Chairs, and Dinner Hosts

(Version 2.5: 9/13/2011)

Research Progress Meetings (RPMs) offer the opportunity to present ongoing research in a casual environment to colleagues with similar interests. The RPM committee will facilitate the setup and presentation so that the RPM runs smoothly. The host will provide an opportunity for further interaction between the speaker and local physicists, both during the day and at dinner.

Speaker Guidelines

Preparations for your talk

  • RPMs are normally attended by a large cross section of the LBNL Physics Division’s physics staff and graduate students, who are a mixture of high energy physicists and astrophysicists.
  • We encourage you to step back from the details of your research and consider what this audience might like to learn from your work. Keep it simple – less is more.
  • The entire talk should not exceed 1 hour, including at least 5 minutes for questions. Timeliness is appreciated since the scheduled talk ends at 5pm.
  • Please provide the RPM Committee with a title and abstract as soon as possible after your invitation, but no later than two weeks before the talk.
  • A projector will be provided for your laptop presentation, but please bring an appropriate adaptor.
  • Please provide a pdf/ppt copy of your talk to the RPM Committee to post on the RPM website after your talk.
  • Check the list of previous RPM’s for related talks to avoid duplication in your presentation.
  • The atmosphere is casual and levity is always appreciated, but to maintain a comfortable environment for everyone please keep in mind the possible sensitivities of a diverse audience.

At the Meeting

  • Tea and cookies are provided in the meeting room (in 50A-5132 unless otherwise notified) at 3:45pm, so it is good to arrive by this time for introductions and to chat. Also, you should allow this time for laptop-projector hookup.

RPM Committee Guidelines

Prior to the meeting

  • Send an informal email inviting the speaker, with a cc to the RPM Committee. Update the RPM Scheduler to indicate that the speaker has been invited.
  • As soon as the speaker accepts, inform the RPM Administrator so he or she can send a formal invitation. Update the RPM Scheduler to indicate acceptance.
  • Contact the speaker to establish a date and get a title and abstract as soon as possible. Inform the RPM Committee as soon as a date has been established and update the RPM Scheduler with this date. The RPM Administrator should add this talk to the public List of Upcoming RPM’s as soon as possible.
  • The formal invitation from the RPM Administrator should point the speaker to these guidelines.
  • You are responsible for introducing the speaker unless you have delegated this to someone else, such as the dinner host or the person heading the job search for which the speaker is a candidate. Prepare a brief introduction to the speaker, either from your own sources or through discussion with the speaker or others.
  • Familiarize yourself with the controls for lights, microphones, and AV equipment, and the location of pointer sticks.
  • When RPMs are held in 50B-4205, some assistance may also be available down the hall from staff in the Computing Sciences Directorate (50B-4230). The ethernet connection is below the podium at the left.

During the meeting

  • Start the session on time, usually at 4:00 PM, even if physicists are still arriving. Make any general announcements and then introduce the speaker.
  • Interaction and questions during the talk are fine. However, if the audience is slowing the talk down so that you think the speaker will not be able to finish by 5PM, ask the audience to hold their questions until the end.
  • Inform the speaker when it is 4:55 if they are not already summarizing.
  • Steer the RPM back on track if the discussion becomes especially heated or might be perceived as offensive.
  • If any serious problems arise that you are unable to handle in chairing the session, either go or immediately send someone to the RPM Administrative Assistant or the Physics Division Office.

Dinner Host Guidelines

  • Typically RPM speakers from out of town are taken to dinner by a host. Often this is a different person than the RPM Committee host.
  • Choose a restaurant after consulting with the RPM speaker about food preferences and restrictions.
  • Invite other guests to make a total party of 3 to 6 people, checking with the speaker to see if there are particular people they would like invited.
  • Make a reservation at a time, say 6:00PM, sufficient to allow the speaker time for some after-talk discussion and enough time to drive to the restaurant.
  • Give the restaurant address, phone number, and directions to guests and organize car-pools if appropriate.
  • Pay the bill, treating the speaker. The Lab (in conjunction with UC-Berkeley) subsidizes the meal up to $250. If the cost exceeds $250, divide the remainder, taking into account cases where someone has had a much less expensive meal, as is often the case with graduate students and postdocs.
  • Make sure you obtain an itemized receipt for dinner.
  • The lab cannot reimburse for alcohol. Pay for the speaker’s drinks and split the costs accordingly.
  • Provide Troy Cortez (x5853, MS50-5050, with a Request for Reimbursement of RPM Dinner Cost. The request can be for up to $250. Include the restaurant name, names of all dinner guests, the total cost of the meal, an itemized bill, and a receipt showing payment.