I'm a PhD student, from Europe, nearing the end of my thesis. I'm going to the USA for a conference in a few months. A couple of professors (assistant professor level, both fairly young, recruited in the past 2 or 3 years) whose work I'm very interested in teach in the vicinity of the conference venue.
Would it be acceptable for me to e-mail them out of the blue and ask them if they'd like to meet/have coffee to discuss common research interests?
They both do literature like me and care about similar methodological issues. However we work on (and in) very different geographical areas, so the chance of us ever meeting at a regular conference are low.
Is this ever acceptable? Does rank/school factor into it?