To maintain a productive research activity, I need to be regularly confronted with new ideas and new subjects. This is why time spent on sabbatical can be so important: as a friend of mine described it, quite appropriately, it is an "academic refreshment". In this respect, the mathematics department at Imperial College was a perfect place to spend some time away from teaching and administrative duties: it provided many opportunities to attend conferences and seminars, and whatever question I was thinking about, more often than not there was an expert in the building to share ideas with.
Beyond this mathematical refreshment, my stay at Imperial College resulted in several collaborations that I hope will be long-lasting.
I am currently working with physicists in Nice and Singapore, doing experiments on atomic clouds cooled and trapped with lasers; one of my goal was to provide some theoretical foundations to their ongoing experimental and numerical work: this led to a work combining the expertise of Dan Crisan from Imperial College and Thierry Goudon from Nice. In a separate collaboration initiated by Pierre Degond and involving also Ewelina Zatorska (now at University College London) and Jose Antonio Carrillo, we investigated how to describe at a macroscopic scale (usually the one we are most interested in, and certainly the one which allows for easier numerical simulations) the complex interactions between particles forming a dynamical network, continuously linking with their neighbors and breaking these links: this is an important building block to understand a wide variety of biological systems.
My stay at Imperial College was too short, but will probably feed my research for several years. And beyond the wonderful science, living for a few months in central London was also an unforgettable experience!
Host: Professor Dan Crisan