Moon-Venus-Mars Skyline – Image Credit & Copyright: Jay Ouellet

This morning I woke up staring at the skyline of Quebec city on my phone. A nice reminder of why I am doing this job.

Science is closely related to travelling, and be staring at beautiful landscapes. If you are a scientist, you probably know about those moments in which none of your experiments is working as you would like and you ask yourself why you did not follow your mother’s suggestion to study medicine or law to count on a stable carrier. And then you look at the window and a deer is peacefully wondering in the garden of the dormitory you are staying in a small cosy city in Belgium. And inevitably, you smile. Travelling! Travelling, and getting to know new research groups, sometime is what you need to remind you that all the studies you have done are worthwhile.

Research is not just about sitting with yourself and your thoughts. Or at least successful research is not. Research is more about sharing. Sharing ideas, sharing experience, sharing a drink. It is a lot about drinking, actually, but better leave this subject for another post.

Back to beginning of my post, the skyline of Quebec city is not just of the wonderful place you can visit in your life, and that recently -very recently- entered my travel wishlist. It is taken from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. It shows the triple conjunction of Venus, Mars and the Moon. This is geek science travelling! You don’t get to appreciate only the beautiful skyline, but also the fact the last time theMoon-Venus conjunction happened was 8 years ago, allowing Venus to orbit the Sun for 13 times. Just this time, more rarely, also Mars joined the couple.

Let me conclude with some geek advice. If you too would like to have geek science daily update set as marvellous background on your smartphone, I can suggest to have a look to IFTTT (IF This Then That). It is a nice tool that allow you to control the associated channel, using the simple syntax of conditional sentence. If interested here is the recipe to get your background synchronised with the NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. I strongly recommend to spend some time to browse also other recipes.

On my side, I will be back enjoying my beer while outside it is snowing in the south of Germany, Tubingen, about 1500 km far from home (Edinburgh) and 1800 km far from the place I grew up in Sicily (Francofonte, SR). Ah, travelling! Ah, beer!



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  1. Pingback: Competition, conversation and collaboration | Great Scot!

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