Long time no news! So many things happened since the last newsletter I wrote! I already did a year and half of my PhD and there is only one year and half remaining. Everything is going very fast and I feel like it will be even faster until the end... People told it to me at the beginning of my PhD, I thought it will not happen to me but indeed, it is happening!

So let's go back almost a year earlier when I took some holidays. I went back to France, in Normandy and Brittany, enjoying sailing, seeing my friends and family. It was nice time and I came back at the end of August very motivated for the busy year that I will tell you about below!

From September to December I was working on the Electro Optic Modulator, some other tests at low power and then we transferred it on the high power bench. There we increased the power up to 50W at the input of the modulator and I almost did not burn anything... almost... just one optical fiber. People told me at the beginning that while dealing with such high densities of power I will for sure, at one point, burn something. I did.
During this period we also had a school in L’Aquila, in the south of Italy. It was on data analysis, not my main subject but interesting anyway. It was also the opportunity to get everyone at the same place at the same moment to carry out the midterm review of the GraWIToN project with people from the European Commission. Everything went well and it was nice to see everybody from the project again!

Two main events occurred at the beginning of 2016 in my PhD. The first one was a very interesting and stimulating school that we had in Birmingham on optical simulation. The second one was not only a big event for my PhD but for the whole world of physics: the announcement of the first direct observation of Gravitational Waves!!! The end of a 100-years quest and the beginning of an exciting new area of astrophysics. We had a press conference in my lab, followed by a cocktail to celebrate. It was lots of excitation and enthusiasm... I was feeling glad, pleased, privileged, honored, proud, humble, so many feelings... but after the excitation of the moment the most present feelings was lucky and forever grateful. Being associated to such a scientific discovery.... Wouahou! Compare to these people working on it for decades, I had just arrived in the collaboration a year ago... Now I have to do my best to be useful to the gravitational waves community!!!

It was not so easy to go back to the everyday life routine after that. I kept working on the modulator and the fibers, preparing my secondment in Hannover which was starting in April. I went there with many ideas of experiments to carry out with the high power single frequency laser that they do have at the Albert Einstein Institute and that we don't have in my lab. The idea was to do some experiments about nonlinear effects that appear into optical fibers while using this kind of laser.
So many ideas but when I arrived at the institute I started to speak with people and others ideas came up and I changed my plans. I stayed there 5 weeks, it was a very stimulating experience and I take the advantage of writing here to thanks again everybody at the AEI for the very good working conditions and the advice they gave me. I can't wait to go back there!

Back to Pisa, one week to prepare a poster, back on the road! To the Elba island that time! Tourism!? Nooo, the Gravitational Waves ADvanced Workshop which is held once every three years in a 5 stars hotel on the Elba Island. So not really tourism but I have to admit that it was a bit strange at the beginning because it was difficult to imagine that we were there to work... and at the same time I wasn't feeling so comfortable since this is not the kind of place where I would like to spend my holidays... But it appears that it was a perfect combination, people and talks were very interesting and we have been speaking a lot all together... And it was again a good occasion to meet most of my GraWIToN fellows!

Back to Pisa, one week to prepare an outreach presentation, back on the road! To Brussels that time. I went at the European School of Brussels to present my work, my research project, my background, in order to introduce the world of research to these young students. It went very well, they were interested and I had many good questions! The teacher and the responsible for outreach for the MSCA were also very pleased. That is something I may do again next semester! In the afternoon of the same day I went to a studio to give my very first interview... they were looking for accounts from people to make a video to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the MSCA program. We will see how it will be!

Travelling, travelling, but not going any further on the practical work.... These days I am mainly sending mails to discuss with the relevant companies and people to find how to solve the problems that I have to face during the previous months, to find the ideal components that will allow me to go further! And I am also planning the last part of my PhD. Next year will be busy!

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