Today I travelled with Lufthansa. This has been a long time I have not flown with this airline. When I picked up the flight magazine and started looking at the company’s routes, an old story came to my mind. A few years ago I was travelling to Mauritius from France with Lufthansa to visit my relatives from my mother side. Upon arrival I kept the flight magazine and was reading the pages with the route maps on the beach when a policeman came to talk to me. It was not that I did something wrong. He was just curious about me reading staring at an atlas for minutes. We started to discuss and he said that he could not afford to buy an atlas for his children. All his wages go to buy food and pay his (subsidized) rent. I realized that I live in a privilege situation and gave the magazine to the policeman. Nowadays I can still spend an entire (short) flight looking at the maps thinking about those children whether I helped them having better grades in geography.
I have attended many workshops and conferences. But the one I am attending in Santiago at the moment is the first one where I have the opportunity to practice astrophotography. Although I have been observing with many telescopes in the world (and in space) I do not know the night sky. I am what can be called a “computer” observer (and becoming a modeler). I enter name of objects in the telescope computer and wait that the telescope moves to the correct position. I admit that I needed the help of my colleagues to show me the location of the interesting astronomical objects. Here is a photo of the Southern Cross and the Milky Way and one of the moon. There are among my first astronomy photos (not counting the images taken at professional telescopes). Quality-wise I definitively need more practice. Other non-astronomy photos can be found there https://www.flickr.com/photos/119656657@N08/
As mentioned already in a previous blog, being in an academic environment opens up the possibility to meet new people from different backgrounds and experience. A few month ago, a new researcher arrived at my institute in Grenoble. She has a dual philosophy-science background together with a strong interest in art. The many discussions I am having with her are stimulating me much, motivating me to write more on this blog and to think about my research and non-research projects. An important aspect of our work is to get funding for our science projects but we should also be able to use our writing and “convincing” skills to obtain funds for non-research projects that are close to our heart. For her it is about philosophy and science and art and science, for me it would be access to science education in the world, science and photography, or science and theatre.
Traveling to Santiago from Grenoble is not as tedious than travelling to Hawaii or Australia. On my way to Santiago, I had a stop-over in Berlin. If you do not believe me, I have photographic evidence. I shot a statue of the bear, the symbol of Berlin, with off-course, a graffiti on it. In addition I have a picture of the three pieces of the Berlin's wall. For those who know Berlin, can you guess where I shot the pictures? The answer will be provided after the pictures.
Has Berlin finally opened the new airport and is a hub for flights to South America? The truth is that I was having a ten-hour stop-over in Madrid and I took the occasion to visit one of my best friend. He lives in the Caumartin district. We went for a stroll in a nearby park called Berlin (Parque de Berlin). The Caumartin district is inhabited by a sizable German-speaking community with even a German food store and German-food restaurants. In previous blogs, I explained why I like Berlin even tough I spent only a few days there. Well, even in Madrid, I got a remainder of Berlin.
When we rehearse, either in preparation of an important scientific presentation or for a play, we have to leave our pride at home. Most critics are advices to get the best out of us. At our play rehearsal, a few fellow actors or actresses seem to have a tough time accepting that. But for me, I am used to critics and comments on my presentations/proposals/papers. I just realized that during the PhD, we also learn to accept and make the best out of the criticisms. By rehearsing, we hope to reach the state of mastery of the presentation/play such that the audience feels that you are present. This presence is the most important aim of a play and also of a presentation. If the presenter/actor “looses” the attention of the audience, nothing can save the rest of the presentation/show.