Boštjan's travel log
The week framing the end of this year’s November and the beginning of December Boštjan from our Symbiolab was travelling North-West to foster new collaborations with colleagues from Germany and the Netherlands and to catch-up with old friends. Today you can read his travel log.
After 17 hours on the rails between Graz and the western reaches of Germany, the train finally arrived to Aachen on Saturday. After the obligatory visit to the Christmas market, it was time to meet friends and family from town, but also the former department of Cellular Neurobionics at RWTH. Catching up on moisture harvesting surfaces, getting filled in on the current status in spider silk research, but also discussing the possibilities of common future projects, all fit on the schedule.
The weekend was sadly over too soon and the journey went on in the direction of Bonn, taking shelter at a friends house near Cologne. Next on the list was a meeting at Nees institute in Bonn, or, to be precise, it’s biomimetics department, which is neatly located inside the lovely botanical garden of the town’s University. There I met with Matthias Mail who is investigating self cleaning and air retaining surfaces at Prof. Barthlotts lab and will be modifying our turtle tags. Before departing, my host gave me a guided tour of the facilities and the possibility to see the currently running projects, devices and the enormous collection of sample recordings, they have gathered over the years.
On Monday afternoon it was then time to continue the journey towards Utrecht, where I would stay at a friends place while commuting to Amsterdam until Thursday. There, the bootcamp for next years Biohack Academy was taking place, which was hosted at the Waag Society - the main organizer of the 10 week long workshop for biohackers and DIY Biology enthusiasts. The bootcamp was packed with content, ranging from general info on Biology, Electronics, soldering and programming, both in theory and in practice. Also attending were people from Space10 in Copenhagen and M-Lab in Vilnius, which were a joy to work with. During the three days we spent in Amsterdam, we built a magnetic stirrer and a remote controlled microscope/euglena game console, cultivated colourful bacteria, made UV “yeastograms”, etc.
After a week of new experiences and acquaintances, as well as happy reunions with old friends from North Rhine-Westphalia and Utrecht-Amsterdam, Friday rushed by and it was time to head back home. It took some time to convince the airport security about the safety of all the electronics and agar plates in my luggage, yet it was nice to have had the experience and also to be on the way towards the sunny side of the Alps. Apart from strengthening existing and forming new bonds and discussing future projects, I was able to learn a lot about the organizational structure of public biolabs