All good things must come to an end…

Six months seems like a long period of time, but it really does pass quickly. My time here in Paris is fast coming to an end… In the short time I have left I tried to cram in a visit to Belgium to give a talk & then attend a local EEG conference in Paris, tie up loose ends on projects & spring clean of my apartment so I can hand it over to my landladies with a guilt-free conscience.

I was fortunate to visit the city of Ghent in Belgium – at the invitation of Daniele Marinazzo [@dan_marinazzo] in the Department of Data Analysis in the Faculty of Psychological & Educational Sciences at the University of Ghent. I had to plan my travel around the 3-month train strike in France & ironically on the way back to Paris was almost a victim of a sudden train strike in Belgium! Decided to not risk it & travelled back to Brussels to stay the night before heading out to Paris in the morning, because of the disruption to local trains. The city of Ghent is a really beautiful – unfortunately I did not spend much time there, but if I had to describe it in one phrase it would have to be ‘the city of churches’. It has had a really interesting history – at one point being a medieval city-state & being the largest city in Europe [with Paris being in second place]. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghent]

It is an easy city to get to know – very walkable. It is possible to walk from one end of the city to the other in ~ 40 minutes or so. Lots of old, narrow cobblestone streets, interesting buildings & picturesque waterways.

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It was great to get to know the faculty & students in Daniele’s department & to get to know Daniele – who I only know from science Twitter! We all went out to dinner one night – although unfortunately Daniele could not join us on that evening.

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Needless to say, the students were excellent teachers regarding the finer points of Belgian beers & the unusually warm & sunny weather was a great stimulus for tasting the brews…

Was in Belgium during a world cup match when Belgium played England – was in a bar & the bartender was certainly dressed for the part. [He even had a vuvuzela.] Belgium won that night, so there were a lot of people partying!

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No rest for the wicked though… straight back to Paris & a very nice & bleeding-edge EEG meeting called ‘CuttingEEG’ [#CuttingEEG] run by Max Chaumon [@DNAcombo] at the ICM. It was a terrific meeting – lots of enthusiasm & great reproducible science. Was able to catch up with a couple of folks the night before the meeting started: Dorothy Bishop from Oxford [@deevybee] & Cyril Pernet from U of Edinburgh [@CyrilRPernet]. I had only ‘met’ Dorothy previously on science Twitter, so it was great to finally meet face-to-face! It was a nice coincidence that the speakers from the meeting were staying just around the corner from me, so I was able to take some of them to one of my local haunts.

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The first day of the meeting was devoted to practical workshops – hand-on methods related stuff… Cyril ran one also. The next morning scientific part of the meeting began & it was a great honor & privilege for me to be sandwiched between Dorothy Bishop & Robert Oostenveld [@oostenvr] in a session on reproducibility & open science! Here is a selfie just before we started the session…

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…and a number of kind souls took pictures of us during our talks & Tweeted them – thanks to those people [I am not exactly sure who they all were now…]

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…and we had a panel discussion following the session. Lots of great questions from the audience & a good dialog between speakers & audience to boot!

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The meeting, of course, was also a very social one! On one evening we had the speaker’s dinner…

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…after which we headed to off a party on a barge on the Seine… the image below shows Max Chaumon trying valiantly to herd cats [i.e. speakers] on the bridge on the way to the barge…

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…where the meeting delegates hung out until the morning hours…

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Indeed, many thank yous to Max Chaumon for organizing such a wonderful meeting! I will definitely try to come again to next year’s CuttingEEG meeting. Here is a pic of Max ‘crushing it’ at our poster on ‘rock solid’ MEEG at the meeting.

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The future of EEG looks young & bright & it is great to be a part of that!!!

Activities in my guest lab are also in full swing, but we took time out from that one lunchtime: there was a surprise lunch for me in my favorite Japanese Restaurant. Nice to see everyone’s smiling faces in the image below:

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I have to say I will miss everyone here immensely. They were also kind enough to give me a number of really cool presents – more about those in future posts. 🙂

I will also miss the rest of the World Cup madness that began last night when France nudged their way into the final against Belgium – the sounds of people celebrating & tooting their horns into the long hours of the night was a real experience!

I have to say I will also miss those views of the Eiffel tower from my kitchen window. By this coming weekend it will all seem like a beautiful dream…

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