This month, Jessica and Etienne went on a trip to two countries, purely for work purposes, of course. Read below for their fantastic adventures involving trains, castles, and bratwurst.
Jessica’s project uses VGStudio MAX to analyze micro-CT images. The company that develops this program has its headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany. Jessica therefore attended a 3-day training session in Heidelberg to learn how to use the program.
Etienne’s secondment is at the Kaiserslautern University of Technology with Professor Gabriele Steidl, who specializes in image processing. He went to meet with her in order to prepare for their upcoming collaboration.
Paris being conveniently along the way to Germany via train, this was a good opportunity for Etienne to stock up on French delicacies and for Jessica to participate in eating them. Therefore, in addition to the two German cities, we also stopped in Paris.
The cityscape as seen from the top of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica.
Although Etienne was returning to Paris, this was Jessica’s first time visiting the city. The first monument we saw as we made our way through the city was the famous Eiffel Tower.
Jessica was quite happy to pose for the obligatory tourist photo. Etienne, despite years of living in Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower daily, is also still impressed by his country’s most famous national monument.
Etienne acted as a tour guide to show Jessica around the city, which was a good experience since, in turn, he also got to experience Paris as a tourist. As a result, the atmosphere seemed less tense as they visited different parts of the city. More importantly, Etienne was able to show Jessica some of his favourite food, seen below. The various sights and activities, as well as the availability of good food, form the basis of Jessica’s ideal trip which was definitely accomplished.
Miam (Jessica’s translation: Parisian food)
A panorama of the city, exhibiting the Schloss Castle in the hills and the Alte Brücke Bridge.
Neither of us had been to Germany before, aside from the Frankfurt airport. Heidelberg was our first real experience in this country, and so we naturally had to commemorate this by having real German food (and drink).
Schnitzels, Spätzle, and Heidelberger beer.
As the real reason we were in Heidelberg was because of Jessica’s training, here is evidence that she actually attended.
Left: The VGStudio Academy in Heidelberg. Right: Processing a CT image of a Nintendo controller so that the internal components can be visualized.
The 3-day training was quite useful, and provided a lot of ideas for Jessica’s project. Knowing how to manipulate CT images to isolate material of different compositions is extremely important, and being able to take measurements from 3D images is also key. The session was a useful reminder that 3D images have immense potential for various analyses, and are not just another way of visualizing objects.
The flower marketplace in the city centre.
Jessica: We were only in this city for two and a half days so we didn’t have much time to explore.
Etienne: The lack of time and activities precluded us to visit what little there is to see of the city.
However, the meeting turned out to be more interesting than expected. It was enriching for Etienne to present some of the work he has done to Gabriele and her group, and to receive diverse and critical opinions about it. The feedback was good overall, and confirmed his opinion and choices in his research. Additionally, this laid the groundwork for what he will be doing there for his secondment.
As a result of Etienne abandoning his faithful paparazzi, no pictures of the event have been taken… That being said, sketches and scene drawings are a capital aspect of documentation in forensic science. Find below an accurate depiction of the events.
Fig 1: Etienne in the spotlight.
In conclusion, the trip was a very refreshing one – it is nice to be in different environments and to participate in activities and training in other countries. It reminds us of the global impact that our research can have, which is an encouraging, motivating thought that we can keep with us as we return to our work here in Leicester.