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  • ALMA et encore ALMA

    29 November 2013

    Two ALMA proposals. My original plan was zero. Usually zero is bad. Getting a zero mark at an exam is bad. Having zero euro on his bank account is bad. But for me this zero would have mean freedom, freedom to enjoy my week-end. How am I ending up writing...

  • Remember, remember the 5th of December

    02 December 2013

    When I say “ALMA proposal”, my colleagues respond ironically “good luck”. Not one, not two, but many of them. Strange because luck is probably one the last words you might expect when you talk about science. At first I thought that they actually meant...

  • Spuistraat, Amsterdam

    03 December 2013

    When I was living in Amsterdam and was working at ESTEC (Noordwijk, close to Leiden), I was commuting every day. I was walking twice a day through one of street with the most bizarre combination of shops and institutions you can imagine. The name of street...

  • ALMA night

    05 December 2013

    First here is a small story. A female non-astronomer friend connects (the conversation was in French): - Can we chat? - I am making a proposal. (Instead of I am writing a proposal) - Why don’t you propose to me? :-) (she meant marriage) - Because you...

  • ALMA proposal aftermath and Geek relooking

    06 December 2013

    Finally I did propose only once to ALMA. If she accepts, the “wedding” will not be before summer 2014. For two days, I was in my telescope-observing mode with enough caffeine in my blood to feel like constantly falling in love at first sight. It was time...

  • A geeky way to invite your colleagues for a drink

    02 December 2013

    No time for an original blog today. Here is an email I sent to invite people for a few drinks. A padawan found it funny so I should share it with you. Dear fellow Jedi knights, we need to get some time away from our duty and missions (papers, proposals,...

  • WiFi

    08 December 2013

    I received a feedback about my blog. My blog is too depressing. The blog is about real events. I cannot really change what actually occurred. But I can ensure you that I am not particularly looking forward to a depressing day when I wake-up, on the contrary....

  • Acting

    10 December 2013

    I recently joined an amateur theatre company. As a relatively reserved person, I never dreamed of becoming an actor. And as a scientific-minded person, this is the opposite of seeking the truth; it is about making an audience believe in a story. The basic...

  • Past, Present, Future

    11 December 2013

    Doing science is learning something everyday. But recently I am learning a lot about myself and about human behaviour by joining a theatre club. One requirement for being a good actor is presence. At the theatre course we trained ourselves to focus on...

  • Painting and astronomy, 2

    17 December 2013

    The Christmas period is special for those of us who work far away from their family and friends. For me it is going back to Paris. I was looking forward to go new exhibitions or stare again at few of my favorite paintings. The Astronomer by Vermeer is...

  • 2013

    23 December 2013

    It is probably time to reflect on the year 2013. Science-wise it was an extremely productive year despite a few moments of stress. Most importantly I am very glad to have met many great new people. Most astronomers are in the asymptotic part of the happiness...

  • Blame the scientists!

    26 December 2013

    France was hit the last few days by a storm. The storm Dirk was not particularly powerful and France is normally well prepared to face those situations. What was not well anticipated was the flooding that hit a few cities. The controversy arose because...

  • Painting and Astronomy, 19th and 20th century

    29 December 2013

    Depictions of the sky night are rare in Western paintings. An almost accurately correct representation of the night sky is Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone on display at the Orsay museum just across the river Seine from the Louvre museum....

  • Working at night: astronomer or DJ?

    05 January 2014

    When I say that I am an astronomer, many people asked if I really work at night. It is true that I observe at night while I am at a telescope. But this happens only at most once per year. Most of the time I sit in front of my computer during standard...

  • YouTube movies on disks and planet formation

    23 January 2014

    I am a member of a modelling team of objects called protoplanetary disks where planets can form. We have produced a couple of Public Outreach movies on YouTube. Our reviewers think that we should advertise better our movies and get more hits. So do not...

  • Improvisation

    14 February 2014

    Among the most stressful but gratifying exercises at an acting course are the improvisations. One of the aims is to learn to be in the moment, forgetting the past mistakes, and not be thinking about the next line. Good actors have presence. Real life...

  • International Woman's Day

    10 March 2014

    Last Saturday was the International Woman's Day. Having such a day is symptomatic that something has to change in our societies but that at the same time it means that we are aware of the problem. Everyday should be the day of the woman. Everyday we (the...

  • Deadlines and procrastination

    10 March 2014

    I recently changed my email signature with a quote from one of my favorite philosophers, Lucius Annaeus Seneca. The quote says “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”. Having...

  • Learning to watch and to speak

    10 March 2014

    I would have never predicted that I would like so much my creative hobbies. By devoting the same focus and determination that I had to learn mathematics, physics, chemistry, or doing research I endeavor to master creative photography or acting. I like...

  • Positive discrimination

    12 February 2014

    The French government is currently debating about introducing positive discrimination (a great oxymoron and also- called affirmative action) measures in France. Like most other Western European countries, France has a sizeable fraction of his population...

  • What would be the world’s best blog ever?

    12 December 2013

    My vote will go to the Anne Frank’s diary. Yes, this was before the age of Internet. But Anne Frank planned to have it published as a testimony of her life during the Second World War. Her name came to my mind because her hiding place (Prinsengracht 268)...

  • Thinking outside the box

    12 March 2014

    Thinking inside the box is easy and brings a sense of security. Thinking outside the box is more challenging but it is the essence of progress. We praise innovations in technology, science, design, or art, but at the same time our societies tend to be...

  • Foreign language and living abroad

    16 March 2014

    One of the keys for an enjoyable life in a foreign country is the mastery of the language. Many complain that economic migrants tend to stay within their community, do not interact much with the local population, or do not speak well the language of the...

  • Lab's Days

    31 March 2014

    I was recently attending a retreat of my current institute at a very nice location in Annecy. The aim of the retreat was to summarize the main results obtained the last five years but also the successes and problems that occurred. Each team showed their...

  • Science and non-science project funding

    09 April 2014

    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...

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