2018 begins!

The year of 2017 brought a lot of change and there is more on the way. It has been a bat year: agile control through instability. 

 Bat flight is an excellent example of a system where instability is necessary for fast adpatation on the wing. 

Bat flight is an excellent example of a system where instability is necessary for fast adpatation on the wing. 

My personal life migrated from Lonay to Geneva and my scientific life migrated to the Weizmann in Israel. Consequently I’ve been oscillating throughout the year between these two locations with a handful of additional excursions. My exploration of Israel’s scientific community, landscape, history, warm weather and cats have all been fascinating and enriching. My project in Ofer Feinerman’s group on developmental control in ants is going smoothly and I look forward to getting the story out. Even sooner I hope I’ll be able to share with the world the fascinating tale of my favorite social esterases.  

Scientifically, I’ve had the pleasure to be invited to speak (and consequently) travel to Japan, Germany, Austria and around Switzerland and Israel for more than ten conferences and seminars this year. I love speaking and I’m glad I can get others as excited as I am about social fluids. While it hasn’t yet manifested into a tenure-track position, I’ve managed to have a handful of interviews, boding well for the future. 

The calm provided by my time in Israel has allowed me to better compartmentalise my scientific and science communication activities. It also necessitated that I arrange successors for The Catalyst before I left. This transition of power began in 2016 and has gone exceptionally well. The team has been expanding the Catalyst’s base and activities in fun directions. Three of my favorite recent projects through The Catalyst: 

  • Exposure Hackathon - 11 teams of artists and scientists made beautiful films about science
  • The Parasite Escape Game at Musée de Zoologie in Lausanne - You are the parasite and the exhibition is the host. Can you escape?
  • CatCave9 - our monthly science-improv show (I still manage to perform  when I manage to be in town at the right time)

These and other science-entertainment activities managed to get me the opportunity to spend some time at the Djerassi Science-Art Residency in California this summer, a wonderful experience I’ll never forget. I met amazing people and began writing a play about machine learning and over- and under-confidence in science and art. 

I’ve also continued teaching a course I developed on presentation skills in Lausanne at the HEC business school. This course has become more streamlined and gets better every time I teach it (twice this year!). 

Socially, Sam and I are doing great and happy to be spending time together this winter. I write this from sunny Santa Cruz, sitting outside in the bright winter, looking out over redwoods and squawking guinea fowl. 

I hope 2018 will bring more stability, happiness, better politics, and more critical thinking and creativity around world. 

Adria LeBoeuf