Going Two Places
In June this year, I visited collaborators at the Free University Berlin to explore a new project funded by a bilateral ISAT grant, working with Dr Dirk Andrae.
As well as spending a productive few weeks working on the problem of how to calculate energy increments in knotted molecules, I was able to visit the groups of Dr Ralf Tonner, in Marburg, and Professor Barbara Kirchner, in Leipzig, for discussions on other areas of mutual research interest. It was a fabulous opportunity to build and further collaborations with the research community in Germany, and will allow students from my group to spend some of their PhD working in Berlin (Doreen Mollenhauer, a PhD student at Berlin, spent 2 months working with us at IRL earlier this year).
One perk of visiting the Free University is that they have a guesthouse for visitors located in the Botanic Gardens of Berlin – which is a very nice place to stay in summer!
I was subsequently fortunate enough to be invited to spend five weeks at NIMS (the National Institute of Materials Science, Japan) working with Dr Taizo Sasaki of their First-Principles Simulation Group. In addition to being allowed to play with their fabulous computational resources, I was able to meet Dr Kenichi Takemura, whose work on pressure induced structural changes I have followed for many years, and being able to see in real time the observed changes of phase of mercury within a diamond anvil cell was a real highlight of my visit. Finally, Dr Sasaki and I have submitted a proposal for funding for further collaborative research, which I hope will be very productive.