Thursday, November 27, 2014

BlueSkiesResearch.org.uk: Paris syndrome

 So, for two weeks we find ourselves in France. Gif-sur-Yvette on the outskirts of Paris to be precise, the location of the CNRS site where we are staying in the very impressive chateau de ville (preservation of which was apparently a requirement of taking on the site).
chateau-1

The visit is courtesy of Masa Kageyama at LSCE-IPSL-CEA-CNRS and our first lesson was to learn what all the acronyms mean and (roughly) how they relate to each other! The main focus of our trip is working on a joint paper which involves several people here, which is not yet ready for public unveiling but which may hopefully be the subject of future blogging. LSCE is stuffed full of paleoclimate scientists of note, including numerous IPCC authors and PMIP leaders and the like. So it was a little surprising to find it located on the site of a disused and slightly derelict corner of a nuclear research facility a little way away, with the offices lined up in what used to be a linear collider. It’s not quite as dystopian as it sounds, and the canteen is certainly a cut above what you tend to find in UK labs!

CNRS-1

We managed to arrive just as Masa had to go away to be somewhere else, so we spent our first day (and also our free weekend) mostly enjoying the pleasures of Paris. I was three years old last time I visited, so I was surprised how little it had changed, though everything looked a bit smaller than I remember.

Our work stay started off with a couple of informal seminars which then merged into a group meeting at which they all discussed their upcoming strike. As a one-time union rep it was interesting to finally find somewhere where unions actually do something. Vive la revolution! What with that and the food I wonder if I would have liked to live in France, though the prevalence of smoking remains a problem.

Our visit also coincided with this conference which we also attended, about which I’ll write separately. More importantly, significant progress on the paper has been made, and our last act before leaving will be to give another talk at Jussieu in central Paris tomorrow.

3 comments:

William Connolley said...

I've been there! I think. So long ago I can't remember why.

Does it sit at the top of a steepish wood-filled slope? I'm pretty sure I recall, when leaving to walk down to the nearest train, taking a "short cut" through the woods and deep piles of leaves and brambles and stuff.

James Annan said...

I wonder if it had anything to do with sea ice modelling? Just a wild stab in the dark...

I think it is indeed at the top of a wooded slope, there is supposedly a path from the chateau but with a locked gate and we've not been encouraged to thrash about in the dark trying to find a way. So we have been relying on lifts and trains instead. Only actually went to the lab about 3 times anyway, the rest of the time has been spent in central Paris and/or working in our mahoosive chambers.

William Connolley said...

Now I think about it, I'm pretty sure it was palaeoisotope modelling. We were trying to set up a project which alas the EU were unwise enough not to fund.