First day of 2009 in my office at UC-Berkeley

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Today is Monday January 5 ** 2009 **. My first official day of the year in my office at UC-Berkeley. It is 8am o’clock, I am already in my office, the brain full of resolutions and motivations. I am sliding on my rolling chair from one computer to another one, typing frenetically on the keyboard to be more efficient. The goals of the day is to prepare the night of observation for the Very Large Telescope in Chile (see details next post available soon),  reply to all the important emails that I received while being in vacation (still 852 emails to check), write the abstract for the LPSC conference (see link) due on Thursday, prepare the proposals to ask for time on the 1m-telescope due on Wednesday, clean my office, reply to my students’ email about the letters of recommendation, send greeting emails to my colleagues for New Year …..Is there is a way that I could end this to-do list in one day?! 
………. 

End of the day (6:30pm = 18:30) and I did the most important part of my to-do list, I prepare the observations for the VLT, clean my office and send emails to my students and colleagues. I think I have still 2 days for the other important tasks so let’s hope tomorrow will be a more efficient day. I am in the train (BART) going back to home and I decided to spend this free time writting my blog…

 

My office at UC-Berkeley (Jan 5 2009)

My office at UC-Berkeley (Jan 5 2009)

This morning I took a picture of my office when I just arrived. It was exactly the way I left it. No magical fairy came during christmas and cleaned it up or re-organized it unfortunately :-). I am attaching a picture [left] for your enjoyment. You can see that I am lucky enough to have a large window and a balcony. There are three desks in this large office since I am sharing it with various undergraduate students. Brent M. started working three years ago with me. He is applying to graduate school in aerospace engineering and left officially UC-Berkeley in December. He decided to take a road trip thoughout the US in Jan-Feb to visit all the universities that he has been applying for. He helped me a lot for my research converting and improving my IDL programs to analyze lightcurve of asteroids in a fastest language called Python. I will most likely hire him as a lab assistant at SETI Institute in Spring 2009. His desk is near the window on the right and where he has his own Apple iMac. Michelle K. started working with me in October 2008. She is the newest member of our group and she will most likely replace Brent when he leaves for graduate school. She has been working on the gigantic database that we implemented a few months ago containing the characteristics of all binary asteroid systems known.  She usually uses my Apple Mac Pro on the left of the picture, but she will be back only next week. When both are here, I am using a small desk on the foreground and my laptop (also a Mac) to work. In October 2008, I finally managed to set up all our computers in a global network (thanks to the help of my friend Cory) and they are accessible from almost everywhere through Internet, meaning that I do not need to be in the office to work with them, which is good since I am working 50% of my time at SETI Institute.This is the group of students who work closely with me at UC-Berkeley. It is not common for a researcher/professor to share his office with students. It is however very convenient for them to have me nearby when I am around.

 

I have a few more direct collaborators at UC-Berkeley, in particular Mike Wong, also researcher at UC-Berkeley, Conor Laver, postdoc, and Prof. I. de Pater. The university is well-reputed and gives access to various libraries, laboratories, a large pool of motivated and smart students, facilities such as the Lick Observatory and the Keck Observatory, a great gymnasium and swimming pools, and a vigorous scientific life. I realized that I have been working at the department of astronomy for 8 years, meaning that I arrived in the US just before the election of G.W. Bush. 

That’s all for today. No science discussion today, maybe tomorrow.

Clear skies,

F.

About Franck Marchis

Dr. Franck Marchis is a Researcher at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute since July 2007. Over the past 15 years, he has dedicated his research to the study of our solar system using mainly ground-based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics. More recently he has been also involved in the definition of new generation of AOs for 8 -10 m class telescopes and future Extremely Large Telescopes. He has developed algorithms to process and enhance the quality of images, both astronomical and biological, using fluorescence microscopy. His currently involved in the development of the Gemini Planet Imager, an extreme AO system for the Gemini South telescope which will be capable of imaging and record spectra of exoplanets orbiting around nearby stars.

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