One of the few lists that might be actually useful for you! So here are the top things to do as a neuroscience student in Munich in the winter semester 2016/17 (in chronological order) :

Interact 2016 (3. – 4.11.2016)

This is the conference organised by students of life sciences for students of life sciences. Of course there are keynote talks and poster sessions taking place, but in addition to that you can also attend career sessions and a number of company talks. Even the improvisation group “Bake This” will make an appearance according to the programme, so it will certainly be a lot of fun!

The deadline for registration has passed, HOWEVER I have information from the organisers that a small number of places are still available! This means, you can come on Thursday evening and join all of the activities for a registration fee of merely 20€. If you don’t feel like attending the conference but feel like meeting students and researchers from across disciplines, there will be an after-party on Friday the 4th of November in ‘Das Labor’, which is free to join for everyone.

 Check out the Munich Neuroscience Lecture Series (usually first Monday of the month)

The researchers who are coming to hold a talk this semester are big fish. My two personal highlights: Karl Friston on November 7th and Patricia Churchland on December 5th. The neuroimagers amongst you will of course already know Karl Friston. He is the one who developed statistical parametric mapping (SPM), which is used by most of the neuroimaging community to analyse fMRI and PET data. His talk entitled “I am, therefore I think” promises to be interesting for everyone.

 Sticking to deep thinking, Patricia Churchland is the neurophilosopher who even non-philosophers understand. She has not only written a number of very influential articles and books (including “The Computational Brain”), but she also does not shy away from TV appearances (including this somewhat awkward but still entertaining interview with Stephen Colbert).

 Talking Science (14. – 15.12. 2016)

Another highlight every year is the event where you get the opportunity to talk with a top-notch scientist not only about their findings, but also about their career and life in research. Previous years included Larry Abbott, Ed Boyden and Nobel-Prize winner May-Britt Moser. I managed to get the secret out of the organising committee and can announce that this year’s guest is Gina Turrigiano from Brandeis University, famous for her work on homeostatic plasticity. Even if this isn’t exactly your field I can highly recommend attending. It is one of the few occasions where you get to talk with an inspiring neuroscientist in an intimate setting, be it during the round table discussions, or over lunch or dinner. Registration to the event will open soon.

 Exhibition: The Self – an ego machine? (12 October 2016 – 4 March 2017)

The additional title ‘What is consciousness?  Exploring new insights in the arts and neurosciences’ sounds exciting! I will definitely check out the exhibition at some point this semester, so watch this space for a more detailed report. From what I understood from the description, the exhibition shows a number of works from artists interpreting neuroscience findings. The pieces of art are mostly created by contemporary artists, however drawings by Santiago Ramon y Cajal are shown also. In addition to the exhibition there will be also various lectures by scientist on the topic of consciousness (although the lectures will probably be held in German). The exhibition takes place at Römerstr. 15 and is open Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday, 11 am until 5pm. More information HERE.

 Work on your summer school application!

Be it the neurobiology course at Woods Hole, the CAJAL course in computational neurosciences in Portugal or the Cold Spring Harbor courses, application deadlines are coming up early next year. Of course the three summer schools mentioned are not the only ones, so make sure you do some research as there are certainly plenty of interesting courses on your topic. On that note (and pardon the shameless plug), it might be also useful to check the GSN blog on a regular basis, because we publish some summer school experiences occasionally (for example, read about Delwen’s experience in Woods Hole here).

 BONUS: Do some non-sciency activity!

Keep in mind you are not a machine and that you deserve some fun without having to feel bad about it. If you are new to Munich, you could for example immerse yourself in Bavarian culture. There are free Bavarian dance classes in the Hofbräuhaus in November which are really good fun. The nice thing is that you don’t need any traditional gear or any pre-knowledge! More info HERE.

Any activities I missed? Feel free to comment! 🙂