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About me

I am an experimental geologist and beamline manager at DESY, Hamburg. My beamline is an extreme conditions beamline hosting a Large Volume Press for in situ studies on materials at high pressures and temperatures using synchrotron X-rays.

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Last days in USA

Travel Posted on 2009-09-03 03:51

I couldn’t leave Minneapolis without having experienced the Minnesota State Fair. I went there with two colleagues from the lab; Amanda and Ayako. In short, it was the biggest fair I’ve ever seen and I haven’t even seen all of it that night. The fair goes on for two weeks so I can imagine that you really need that much time to experience it to the fullest. After having tried the Australian chips with sour cream and chili sauce (ha ha) we watched a free horse jumping show in the hippodrome. That was my first time ever so it was really good but did get boring quite quickly. We then walked to the part of the fair where the rides were. We only bought tickets for one ride which was the most insane thing I have ever tried and that was quite enough. You can see it in the photos. Basically you are strapped in a seat and then the big wheel starts lifting up and rotating. The arm also rotates and the individual seat rows also rotate. That is three modes of rotation! Needless to say, I felt dizzy and sick afterwards. It not scary, mind you and if you have the bodily resistance to being thrown upside down and around quickly then all the more power to you 🙂

By sheer co-incidence we met up with a girl, Beke at the fair whom I know from the place I was staying at. If you image that at the fair there were thousands and thousands of people, the odds were amazingly small. For some reason though ive defied the odds so much with Lynn that i was hardly surprised ha ha. The fair was heaps fun and would love to check it out again someday.

I then flew to NYC and took a 5 hour train to Boston. There I met up with one of my phd advisers and stayed a night at his place. He has a really nice house on the outskirts of Boston near a shallow lake. His two daughters and wife sometimes go canoeing on the lake with their own canoe boats. My talk at Boston University the following day went well and the discussions with the group researchers/students were interesting.

I am already back in NYC now and taking an easy day off. Tomorrow is my flight to England and a conference awaits. Still gonna be busy, but I cant wait to relax when i get to the Netherlands 🙂

Photos ->

Yale and Minnesota

Travel Posted on 2009-08-09 03:25

So after my grand experience in New York City I took a train to New Haven to pay a visit to Yale University. With the aid of my supervisor in Australia, I was invited to give a seminar and meet the geology and geophysics research group.

I arrived on a Sunday afternoon and got a taxi to the Lawn club where my accommodation was arranged. Strangely enough the lady behind the window didn’t have any record of my arrival until she found a card with an odd name written on it. It turned out the reservation was made under the name of the professor, Shun Karato but was misspelled so badly it didn’t make any sense – Saikaraateman. She said she’d get it sorted out and I didn’t have to worry about it. The room had everything I expected, a double bed and tv with an adjoining bathroom. The place looked interesting too. It looked pretty old and was clearly a gentlemens tennis club. The tennis courts were out back.

I spend two exhausting days at the Geology and Geophysics dept at Yale. I met Prof. Shun Karato and he showed me around the place. I didn’t have my presentation until 4pm on Monday so after discussing some of my research with him, I set out meeting some of the other students and post-docs in his group. The seminar went well and lasted a good hour with questions in between. The following day I met the professor again and we brainstormed some of the issues of my research that he wasn’t sure or convinced about. Since i do high temperature experiments on synthetic, rather than natural rocks the rheology (flow behaviour) is quite different. In the end, we worked out a possible theory that I will be testing when I get back to ANU. In fact, he was so excited that he asked to be a co-author for a paper that I will write on dislocation recovery in olivine. Remember that this is the one that i tried to submit before but got rejected.

Here are some photos of Yale:

On the Wednesday I caught a train back to NYC and a plane back to Minneapolis. Never giving myself a moment rest, I decided to visit the lab again here at the uni of Minnesota to see what was going on. By luck, I saw Prof David Kohlstedt there who told me there would be a bbq at his house that night since he accepted two new phd students from Beijing University, China. So I was picked up from my accommodation here and spend a wonderful evening eating tasty sausages and drinking some popular American beer (Summit and Leinenkugel’s amber ale). It was a good way to meet the research group as well.

I will be starting my experiments on Monday, when the lab technician will have returned from holidays. In the mean while, time to kick back and relax and enjoy the summer here. In other news, Lynn told me there is a Typhoon wreaking havoc in Shanghai and along the east coast of China. Sounds like nasty weather and she’s now in bed with a fever. I wish her all the best.

Rex out.


Travel Posted on 2009-08-07 03:13

Photos of New York City (Manhattan)

Rob in the USAiii

Travel Posted on 2009-08-01 14:48

I’ve just come down to the lobby in New York’s biggest International Hostel YHA and possibly the world. Yeah, it’s pretty big. I constantly have no idea what time it is and I believe it’s now a Friday night. After having travelled through so many time zones, time ceases to be meaningful. Thankfully I am a creature who lives by the sun cycle. It must be past mid-night now but my dorm room got invaded by a bunch of Thai people on a mission to do some kind of rally tomorrow. I didn’t quite follow what they were going on about but im sure my Belgian colleage would pick up a thing or two.

So lets see… things are pretty good here. I havent done any sight seeing yet but I’ve met some nice random people. As soon as I arrived on Tuesday night I was nackered. The flight from Sydney – Fiji – Los Angeles was long, boring and exhausting. But thankfully, my accommodation in Minneapolis is perfect. A nice room to myself and wireless internet for free. The following day I immediately went to the Uni of Minnesota to drop off my samples and the Furnace. That on its own is a whole different story. In short, the border and security guards were curiously interested what the object was. Luckily I had good documentation to prove it was (mostly) harmless.

I did some exploring on the uni campus. It is unbelievably big! Maybe two times the size of the ANU campus with heaps of big old buildings, some even featuring greek pillars. Yeah i liked that a lot. I went to the Pillsbury hall where I found Prof. David Kohlstedt. I immediately liked the old guy and he showed me around a little before we went to another building on the other side of the campus to show me around the rock deformation lab. Not much bigger than at RSES but nicely packed with stuff and the apparatus i will be using to deform my rock specimens in torsion.

Then the following day (Thursday) I was supposed to fly to New York (La Guardia) but after waiting for like 6 hours my flight got cancelled. It turned out the plane needed servicing and thus was send back to Atlanta…sigh. Luckily tho’ us NYC people got compensated with free accommodation at a nice expensive hotel with a free meal and a free return flight coupon with AirTran airways. Interestingly one of their flights goes to Cancun, Mehico! Sadly tho, i have no time and it expires in a year. So if anyone is interested, let me know!!!

Anyhow, today I did get to NYC and I will do some sight seeing until I move on to New Haven on Sunday arvo. Then on Monday I will present my research at Yale in front of the Geology and Geophysics department. It will be huge so im pretty anxious but also excited.

Cheers all

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