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Kavli day Bionanoscience

On September 16, we scientists and stuff of Kavli Institute have had an important and entertaining day.

The day has started from Grand Opening of Department of BioNanoScience. This is an offsping of our department started by Cees Dekker and Ninke Dekker (and their are not relatives, can you imagine) to promote biophysics at nanoscale. The opening has started with short official speeeches and went on with a nice scientific workshop. I liked the event, since despite its official orientation it contained lively features not entirely planned (like in the beginning the laptop of Cees has fallen down and it took up to five minutes to get it running). There was a discussion table after the talks on the topic if biology becomes engineering. The statements of the people at the table and responses from the audience were so unprepared and provocative as to create a surreal impession of importance and relevance of the topic. Do not ask me for the details, since if I’m asked to associate biology and engineering, my dentist is always the first and dominant association and the associations that follow are not at all enjoyable.

The discussion table was a theatre, there was also a real theatre with actors meant to entertain (and not quite tuned to my personal taste). The official speech of university president Dirk Jan van den Berg was sandwiched between the performances of this gang and, by virtue of taking place in a big make-shift tent, looked a part of it. Why am I so critical about this part? Simple. I got to there hoping for a free lunch. However, the audience was numerous, young and assertive. When it came down to food dispersion, I had no chance in Darwin-style events followed and had to resort to usual cantine food.

After that the Kavli day has begun. At two o’clock the members and stuff of our Kavli gang has been transported 15 miles to Zoetermeer to be processed at an enterprise specializing in corporative entertaining (bedrijfsuitjes in Dutch). Sounds boring? Not at all. First, the enterprise is called Ayer’s rock of all names. If you look at Wikipedia (as I did) what Ayer’s rock is you can already appreciate the creativity and certain romantisism of place owners. Indeed, they have provided some good fun

First part for me was GPS adventure. Everybody made fun of me for this part because of my adventures in Aspen. However, it went good and it was entertaining. We were the team of six given a Garmin unit and some challenging tasks that require the use of the unit. What stroke me is the task separation that has been authomatically and spontaneously established in our team. Me being professor had to keep the papers in order, cite the tasks loudly, collect the results and conceal my confusion over the run of events. The postdoc took the actual organization that included preventing the group sinking in marches, taking wrong turns and encouraging fullfilment the tasks. The indispensible apparatus has been operated by the senior phd student who gave us directions and readings required. And the students, as ususal, did the job. So it was like in a real research group. With my wise guidance, we’ve completed all tasks and made a record by scoring as high as possible. Too bad the responsible personeel was not able to spell my name to put it to the annals

The apotheosis was the transfer of Kavli directorship from Hans Mooij to Cees Dekker. That took place in a climbing hall. Hans gave a speech from 20m height and jumped down. He was connected to a rope so that the impact was less than you could imagine, but still it was spectacular. Then Cees took the rope and climbed up to the height to become the new Kavli director. These moments were quite thrilling since Cees did not simulate but actually climbed. His right foot did it fine while left foot from time to time has been searching for support: and everybody was afraid it won’t find any… After the event, I found it prudent to utter a light critisism to Cees, like he could train more on the same wall before the ceremory. No, said Cees, you don’t understand anything in climbing, I did it in the bast way possible. Thereby he has fully convinced me that he will be the best Kavli director one could imagine…

What else? I’ve attempted Djemble drum workshop, but could not do much and felt like a loser. Good diner has softened my feelings and was a perfect ending of the day. Guess everybody of us can say so. Long live Kavli

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2 comments

Sounds like a great demonstration of what a good leader he will be

BioNanoScience? Seems like a fascinating subject. I belong to an online learning and distance learning community called U-2-Me. Perhaps, you would like to conduct training sessions there. Please check it out if you are interested. It would be wonderful if you could.

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