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  • Edinburgh, a city that celebrates the artists, philosophers and scientists

    20 November 2013

    Edinburgh is a town that celebrates its humanists, its writers, and its scientists instead of his kings, dictators, or war heroes. While visiting together the town, a visitor of mine from Germany pointed to a neo-gothic moment on Princes street, the main...

  • Edinburgh the museum town and Berlin the living town

    23 January 2014

    I visited Berlin and Edinburgh recently and I kept comparing them to each other. I like them both with their own unique characters. I wanted to write something more personal about Berlin but I could not. Then I decided to go to one of the cafes in Edinburgh...

  • Berlin?

    07 April 2014

    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,...

  • Scottish Astrophysics Departments

    23 January 2014

    A rare coincidence occurs between two major astrophysical institutes in Scotland. The Royal Observatory Edinburgh (ROE) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at St-Andrews University are located in the close vicinity of world-famous old Golf course...

  • My first amateur astronomy photos

    11 April 2014

    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)...

  • Platform 9 ¾

    19 November 2013

    Astronomers travel quite often, either for work or because of the two-body problem. Waiting hours at airports or train stations is pretty common. Most airports are utterly boring architecture-wise but a few old train stations are worth a visit. One day...

  • Berlin Golden Hat

    03 January 2014

    At the dawn of human civilization astronomical knowledge brought a lot of prestige. I was in Berlin the last few days to celebrate the Saint-Silvestre and thought that a visit to a few museums was warranted. But even while on vacation I stumble on Astronomy-related...

  • Edinburgh has a new hero in town

    21 January 2014

    Edinburgh has found a new hero to celebrate. Peter Higgs, who received the Nobel price for his prediction of the particle that provide the mass to matter, has joined Maxwell (and other scientists) in the list of local famous scientists. A portrait of...

  • What is the most "exclusive hotel” in the world?

    14 November 2013 ( #Architecture )

    My cousin works in luxurious hotels and once he showed me a book about what he thought should be the most exclusive hotels on Earth. Those hotels have incredible architectures, outstanding restaurants, and top-notch service. But still he changed in mind...

  • St Andrew’s day and winter blues

    30 November 2013

    Google has a cunning way to teach trivia to the world via his doodles. Today’s doodle celebrates St Andrew’s day, the national day of Scotland. The Scots have devised a genius scheme to beat the autumn-winter blues. Winter blues is particularly acute...

  • A mood for poems

    17 November 2013

    I am a scientist, not at all a skilled writer or poete. When I am in the mood, I still like to give it a try with an astrophysicist's twist, off-course. At the telescope Oh mirror, powerful mirror, what will you let me stare at tonight? The youth of the...

  • The Architecture of scientific discovery

    11 November 2013 ( #Architecture )

    In his essay “The Architecture of Happiness”, Alain de Botton explores how humans shape their surroundings to incorporate their desire of beauty, which ultimately leads to happiness. This begs the question: what would be the best architecture for an astronomical...

  • Why me? Experiencing discriminations

    18 November 2013 ( #book reviews )

    I am reviewing a book currently available in French only (“Pourquoi pas? L’expérience des discriminations” par François Dubet, Olivier Cousin, Eric Macé, et Sandrine Rui). It should not be too difficult for someone “trained” to review papers, observing...

  • ALMA and the most enviable way to become a professor at MIT

    25 November 2013 ( #book reviews )

    What means “ALMA” for you? If you are an astronomer, you immediately think of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile. But if you are not, it may be the tunnel in Paris where Lady Diana had her fatal accident. If you are an historian, you may recognize...

  • Optimism, pessimism, realism, and stress

    11 November 2013

    Optimism and stress are quite common character traits among astronomers. Unexpectedly, both are related. Our tendency to be optimistic about our ability to achieve a goal in a given amount of time, which is hard to determine in science, often results...

  • Are scientisits immune from making logical fallacies?

    12 November 2013

    Critical thinking is what makes a good scientist. But I have to admit that I never had a formal training on that subject and had to learn it by listening to an excellent podcast (http://www.theskepticsguide.org/). The lead podcaster Steven Novella has...

  • Two-body, three-body, and N-body problem

    12 November 2013

    I said that I will not talk about astronomical phenomena in this blog but I will do an exception about the so-called two-body problem in academia. Two-body problem exists outside academia and concerns couples with careers that require a physical separation....

  • Being a post-doc in a foreign country, the view of a “professional foreigner”

    15 November 2013

    As a child you spend years mastering your language or grasping your culture. It is not surprising that the younger you move to a new country, the easier you can adapt. Children absorb new ideas or new ways of doing things with enthusiasm. They are open...

  • Giving a scientific oral presentation: a pleasure or an ordeal?

    10 November 2013

    This is my first blog and I suppose that I should expose my motivations. This blog will essentially focus on my personal account of a scientist’s daily life in the fascinating field of Astronomy and Astrophysics. I will avoid as much as possible actual...

  • On writing this blog

    21 November 2013

    Science news articles and blogs are about recent discoveries. The materials are available, being the press releases and the original articles. On the other hand, writing a blog about daily life makes that I have to be even more aware than usual of my...

  • A little story

    22 November 2013

    I had once a little mirror, a magical one. When I starred at it I could see dark spots. There were my fears. There were my worries. There were my bad feelings. I just needed to wipe the mirror and all were gone. Life was so easy. But one day I dropped...

  • Today is the day of the Doctor

    23 November 2013

    Doctor Who was created 50 year ago. There are many reasons why I like the show but I would rather talk about the first time I was introduced to it. I appreciate that in the TV show The Big Bang the scriptwriters have to push to the extreme the personality...

  • Painting and astronomy part I, The Astronomer

    24 November 2013

    I lived a few years in the Netherlands, where my appreciation of the Dutch painters from the old masters to the members of the Stijl grew. But the most famous painting that concerns directly astronomy can be admired in Paris. Johannes Vermeer has produced...

  • ALMA, the trigger of emotions and stress

    27 November 2013

    Writing observing proposals is stressful but I do not understand why people feel obliged to do it. Perhaps they want to make revenge on selection committees by inundating them with proposals to read and judge. Astronomy is not a dictatorial system. We...

  • The new doctors (the real ones, not the incarnations of Doctor Who!)

    27 November 2013

    2014 will be their year, whatever they choose to do. Many will live in a new country, meet new people, face new difficulties, but also encounter new opportunities. But we are still in 2013, a few more weeks to go. And a few of PhD students have to defend...

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