Time for an update. Which I am writing in a hotel room in Copenhagen, not a bad sign at all. I have been working for almost a month now at the RIVM, and so far I like it. To be honest, the time that I spent in the office in Bilthoven was only one and a halve week. After having started on Februari 1st, I took off for a skiing holiday in France one week later. After I came back then, 8 hours later, I left for Vienna for the kick-off meeting of the project on which I will be working, and so now, I’m in Copenhagen for a three day’s course. The return from Asia is what I considered as the end of traveling for some time, it revealed not to be the case.
Let’s start where chronology starts: at the beginning. This first week at the RIVM they made me read a lot of things about bacteria, not the kind of thing I happened to know a lot about. I should though, since the problem I’ll be focusing on is Salmonella in pig meat (pork). So then microbiology is something important. Of course I’m a mathematician, so it’s not only little animals that I will be working with. I aim to make a model of these bacteria in the whole chain from live pigs on a farm to a piece of meat on a consumer’s plate, and modeling is something that I’m supposed to be good at. Which is why they hired me.
After having worked on this for one week, it was time for a holiday again. Of course, this was planned already, otherwise it would have been hard to sell this to the RIVM. And actually it was not a holiday, it was a course, about avalanches. It was in the Ecrins, in the French Alps. The week started off with a lot of rain and snow, which caused to avalanche danger to rise from level 3 to 4 on the scale of 5. Very instructive for us. We saw a lot of dangerous places (where avalanches could possibly be triggered), and our guide did trigger an avalanche. But he could escape, and he said he even did this on purpose, to show us an avalanche. The fresh snowfall also brought a lot of powder snow, which was great fun, skiing in snow reaching to your knees. The week ended in spring-like circumstances, after skiing we could sit on the terrace in shorts and no t-shirt, sipping on a beer, watching the beautiful Ecrins.
Saturday was the last day of skiing, after this we went straight home, and we arrived in Utrecht at about 3AM. Then I had a short night, because at 10AM I had to be at Schiphol airport, to fly to Vienna. The kick-off meeting was good. A lot of good food and wine, a very luxury hotel, in nice surroundings, nearby Vienna. The project I’ll be working on, is an EU project with 46 partner institutions, which makes it big, maybe difficult, but interesting. The meeting was to get the tasks somewhat more clear, which we managed to do (taking into account the previous “somewhat”). Still, it’s difficult to get all the 46 heads point into one direction. But it was a good beginning of the project at least.
So and now, after having worked in Bilthoven again for 3 days, I’m in Copenhagen. Doing a course on Bayesian inference networks, an interesting mathematical theory that links causes to results in sometimes quite complicated networks. Copenhagen seems like a nice city, not too big, many classic buildings, statues (Little Mermaid), etc. It has even snowed last night, which enhanced the Scandinavian feeling.
I’ll finish with some data, because some things changed. Last weekend, in between Vienna and Copenhagen, I also moved. This will be my new address: