Saturday, September 21, 2013

DRT in Leuven: when the past comes to meet me

The DRT (Deformation mechanisms, Rheology and Tectonics) meeting is a conference organized every second year in a different city in Europe. This has been my first conference ever, when I was at the beginning of my PhD school, in 2005, in Zurich. Then I had to skip the following meeting, in Milan, because of the organ diploma. I went to Liverpool, in 2009. There was one in 2011 in Oviedo, but I was already in the meteorite impact research. After having sent tens of applications for a post-doc in geology and at the end being relocated to Brussels working on a complete different topic, I was sure to have definitively said "farewell" to structural geology and micro structural analysis. I was wrong! The DRT this year is in Leuven, 20 minutes by train: even for fun, I couldn't miss it!

A surprise waited for me. Although I asked a poster presentation, I had a talk. I've presented a side-project I was working on in Vienna, but my speech wasn't good. Amen! I was freezing in that room and I bit distracted by the feeling of being again among structural geologists, some known, some new. Many elders were not there, I don't know if because of contemporaneous fieldwork or teaching. I was the only italian, though my current affiliation is belgian. This was a bit sad. A professor that I met in 2006 remembered that I play organ. Well, this means that I didn't change much in these years, I'm still equally divided between my two great passions: geology and music.

The conference was, anyway, quite interesting. Not only for the state of art in the field, but also for the opportunity of talking of possible collaborations on what I'm working on now. Surprisingly, other geologists are interested in shock metamorphism! The conference has given me also the opportunity to visit Leuven, which was recommended as candidate for moving out of Brussels. The town is really beautiful, with gothic buildings, pedestrians areas, historical squares, and an old catholic university. But I cannot live there: as I was afraid of, the city is sized for students. It would be like living in Oxford. It's not for me, I'm too old for that. Anyway, it was nice to jump back in the past, enjoying travels by train and a conference in a nice, quiet and clean place. Hopefully this was also a glimpse of future.

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