For the past two month, I had the great pleasure of doing experiments with Philipp Kukura’s group at the department of Chemistry in Oxford. This was an opportunity created by the superb hospitality of Philipp and his group members, and me not taking enough vacation days for the previous two years. Spending most of my time in the lab and getting my hands busy with some of the most sensitive optical microscopes in the world was a remarkable experience. I am no stranger to sensitive microscopes, but the iSCAMS technology, with its unique combination of sensitivity and ease of operation, is a real breakthrough. Each week I saw some visiting researchers coming with their samples in ice-boxes and at the end of the day leaving with a smile on their face because of the incredible measurements they could take in a single day.
Philipp generously allowed me to play with their setups and try some crazy ideas. We were quite lucky that a couple of those ideas worked really well, or perhaps they weren’t crazy enough. Crazy or not, the common interests we discovered this summer will hopefully be the beginning of some fruitful collaboration between our teams at Oxford and Utrecht.
I also spent several weekends rowing in an eight on the Thames under a pleasantly clear sky. For the three weeks that Bahar and Soline joined me, we could spend ample good time together and with friends, playing, punting, and sight-seeing. That couldn’t possibly be as pleasant if we did not have that exceptionally sunny weather and the company of our very good friend Taha.