Leaving Leiden

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Wolfgang Hillebrandt (left) and Paolo Mazzali (right) during the conference boat trip

Wolfgang Hillebrandt (left) and Paolo Mazzali (right) during the conference boat trip

Amazing how time goes fast. The conference is already over. Very productive, with lots of discussions, and fun too. What always amazes me is the surge of enthusiasm that I can always feel when I get together with other scientists, somehow all sharing the same desire… And more and more as time goes by I am impressed by the young generation of astronomers. Maybe it is just because I am getting of age, but it seems to me they are much better than I used to be at their age.

In general, the scenario on the progenitor star systems which may give rise to Type Ia explosions is still confused, but some remarkable progresses have been done. It takes lots of telescope time, analysis, numerical codes and so on, but slowly we are seeing some light.

Yesterday evening we had a very nice dinner. As you know I like very much to mix with the youngsters. But last evening we we were so lucky that Wolfgang Hillebrandt, one of the fathers of thermonuclear explosion theoreticians, was with us. And he was telling us about people like Fred Hoyle (“a great man!” – he said), and Hans Bethe. You know, pillars of XX-th century astrophysics. I am always deeply impressed by those personalities…

Lots of new ideas came out of this meeting. Wandering in the darkness (as is typical of astronomers) is sometimes frustrating. Occasions like these give a push, stimulate collaborations, and bring new enthusiasm.

Ok, now I am heading to Amsterdam airport. A group of young theoreticians working in Wolfgang’s group in Garching are flying with me. So, the game is not yet completely over.

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