Today marks the end of the second phase of the PHILEAS campaign, when our time here in Alaska has drawn to its end. Tomorrow Halo will depart into the Alaskan skies one last time, and will be heading north, homebound. It feels as if an era has come to its end, even if this might sound mightily over exaggerated, but for so long this has been our lives now. In these last remaining hours, it feels appropriate to reflect on what has been, and maybe what there is still to come:
The days here have grown shorter, as the first days of autumn seem to dawn here in Alaska, which most of all paints the world in the vivid pallet of the Indian Summer. Especially here it is most beautiful, a decent, somber metaphor for the coming end of the campaign as well. It appears that our instruments are slowly waning, with minor issues with the equipment becoming more and more frequent. Nothing you can't fix, mind that, and in recent lights our instruments and personal have performed admirably
The far-east winds and traces rare are what we dreamers seek above the waves of oceans and the highest mountains peak. We set our feet on northern soil, a team of many teams, and metal wings are brought to bare the weight of foolish dreams. The calling that we all once felt has brought us to these lands of ice and stone, in summertime, the task on our hands. One wonders what this time might bring, while we are here to stay, what pay-offs this campaign will bring, no-one yet dares to say.
Another day at the PHILEAS campaign, and I don't know what to tell you about. Should I tell you that our instruments still work admirably? This much should be expected by now. They are incredibly reliable this time around. Should I tell you about how the flights went? They went great. Scientific objectives are plentiful, and the Asian summer monsoon provides us with plenty of its air here in North America. We performed multiple double flights, with tomorrow even attempting sort of a triple flight, where we will probe a single filament for a third time utilizing trajectories. But this is nothing new. Thrilling for the experienced senior scientist surely, but not for the layman. With this blog designed to provide an alternative perspective, and with us slowing exhausting, I propose a different direction for this weeks post. Everyone has a different way to cope with pressure and strain, and some of them are rather humorous. Join me then, please, into the mind of the people of the campaign, and the strange habits that have arisen during these last days:
It is a strange thing, to be on campaign this long. Like the proverbial rabbit you follow into its hole, you enter a world fully dedicated to your research, your work and truly defined by it. Only in rare moments of respite may your mind wander back to the time before that, and it feels somewhat alien to me. It is not a bitter-sweet melancholy of longing and dreaded missing, to which the weary mind may cling to, but rather a slow miring, a loosing oneself in this new world, this new life. I had expected it to be less pleasant. Its dull edge irritates me very much.
The campaign is well underway. To be honest, a certain sense of everyday life has slowly crept in with us, so you might want to forgive me if I begin to struggle a little to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Spirits remain high, and there is plenty to tell off:
The time has finally come. With the second phase of the campaign dawning, we set our eyes onto the distant shores of Alaska. By the time you’re reading this the last of our team has arrived in the United States, to take on the second phase of the campaign head on. We’ll be operating from a hangar run by Atlantic Aviations and are currently setting up the equipment already here.
The first phase of the campaign is well underway, and with that summer has finally returned to the northern outstretches of the Alps. We have completed two more scientific flights during the last week, as well as the infamous turbulence flight, with great results. Our first flight brought us all the way up and along Sweden, along the Scandinavian Mountains and back again above the bright beaches on the Baltic Sea, flying straight along the entire country. Another team of scientists did a balloon flight near the flight track as well, and word is they did manage to see us from down there. Scientifically, these two measurements have great synergy potential, and will allow us to cross validate the data or maybe even complement each other, to see what only the other can see.
Pale clouds and persistent rain usually do not bode well as omen, and only a fool or a dreamer would dare to keep high hopes and excitement on such a rather sad summer day, but looks can be deceiving, and the first scientific flight 'Bitburg' today in Oberpfaffenhofen was a resounding success, only one of many more we dare to dream of today.
Widespread laughter, pure joy and exuberance dominated the building of the Projektträger Jülich on Monday morning. This was due to the reunion of the 59 students from the 15 West African ECOWAS states. After the end of the winter semester, they all met again for the first time in Germany. For some, it is the first big trip, a journey to another continent, a foreign country and a new cultural environment.
In 2022 Paul Zakalek from the Jülich Institute for Quantum Materials and Collective Phenomena (JCNS-2 / PGI-4) spent six months researching the possibility of depth-resolved chemical analysis with neutrons as part of a fellowship at the RIKEN Institute in Wako, Japan. Since then, the 38-year-old neutron researcher is working on the development of a highly brilliant neutron source in Jülich. In this blog post, he recalls his time in Japan.
Equity, diversity & inclusion in the context of science can be approached from different angles. First, one might think about how the science community might become more diverse and equitable as it pertains representation. Hence, the long-lasting question: how can STEM institutions recruit more women and people from underrepresented backgrounds? Furthermore, #ichbinhanna is an ongoing issue ( for good reasons!) and it is important to talk about the often precarious working conditions in academia, to criticize them and to fight for an adjustment of the system. Because once again, those who are disproportionately affected are those who belong to underrepresented groups and do not conform to the long-held normative view of who scientists should be: white, male, from well-educated families
Having grown up in Italy it is difficult not to develop a fascination for the Roman empire. It is not intentional, but somehow, day after day you stumble upon it and before you realize it, it has become part of your cultural baggage and system of references.
When you think of an interesting international personality, it is certainly someone like Dr. Gabriela Figueroa Miranda. Not only does this young woman have two passports, one from her home country Mexico and one from Germany, she also brings with her a high level of innovativeness, a lot of scientific research drive and quite a bit of biochemical knowledge. In short, a personality you want to get to know. As part of the Umbrella cooperation, Gabriela has now visited the land of innovation, Israel.