The Radiology Society of North America (RSNA) annual conference is one of the most popular and most well-attended conferences in radiology. The deal is the same – you submit some academic work you completed, and if it is deemed worthy, you are offered a not-quite-golden ticket to attend the not-quite-chocolate-making conference center.
You spend upwards to one week in a place with 20,000 strangers pushing around, 4,000 some CME-worthy offerings, and another 700 vendors trying to decide whether you have money to buy a CT table. Sometimes people say that you go to the RSNA conference to learn about the newest research, to get ideas from being bathed in the sheer high density of smartness that we assumed would somehow disperse by diffusion. The research is great, the vendors are great, the city is amazing, but these aren’t the reasons to go to the RSNA conference. If the research is important enough you will see it in a journal, if you need a product you will find that vendor on the internet, and Chicago… is indeed amazing, but it would be more so in September than December.
The reason that tens of thousands of people come together on this one week is not for the great research. It’s for each other. Go for the great people. The world-class research is just a bonus.