QuarkNet an der Elbe: Fertig.

Today is my last day here at TU Dresden and this will be the last QuarkNet an der Elbe.

The past two weeks have been exciting and scary as we have been gearing up for International Masterclasses 2015. Last week, Uta and I both went to CERN for the masterclass moderator orientation there. Although I had attended these before via Vidyo, I think I got a better sense of the flow and, more important, of moderator reactions by being in the same room. I think it will help make moderator orientation at Fermilab next week even better. While I was at CERN, I met or ran into QuarkNet mentors from Wayne State, Rochester, the Virtual Center, and University of Washington - all in the cafeteria, of course.

We've been putting last minute touches on all aspects of the masterclasses, from updating pieces of websites (I found one more item today) to CIMA to communicating with mentors. Meanwhile, International Masterclasses have started on the CERN side. The first ATLAS masterclasses were on Wednesday and the first CMS masterclass is today. Me, nervous? Nah. (I'm writing this from under my desk.)

I haven't mentioned - because this is a "scientific" as opposed to "personal" series of posts* - that during most of my time here in Dresden the indomitable Mrs. Cecire has been with me. She has shared in it all: racing across Switzerland in a little Seat Ibiza to make it to a masterclass at CERN, figuring out how to make Thanksgiving dinner in Europe (success!), watching me rush out the door like a maniac to make the 8:19 bus, freezing in Prague in midwinter, and many late nights at work. It was Mrs. Cecire who got me to visit castles in Saxony and ride a steam train between Radeburg and Radebuel.

Tomorrow we go to Berlin and thence, Monday, home to beautiful South Bend.

Finally, there is not enough I can say about my colleagues and friends here at TU Dresden. They have been unfailingly kind and patient and have made me feel like one of them, even with my language limitations. I have to especially thank my officemate and partner-in-masterclasses Uta Bilow. She has put up with a lot and has always been tremendously helpful. Collaboration on International Masterclasses this year has been the best ever as we have been able to sometimes bang away at our computers in silence (like right now) and other times come to quick consensus on ideas, developments, and things to get done - because we could talk about them face-to-face, daily. Vielen dank, Uta und alles. 

As I did before Christmas, I'll leave you with some nice pictures from around these parts,

Schloss Pillnitz, one of the castles of August der Starke, in the outskirts of Dresden.

Wehlen, on both sides of the Elbe. Pronounce the name right and you are on your way to a B5 pun.

Minas Tirith. Well, really Festung Königstein.

One last look out the Cecire apartment window.


* Right, Ken. That's why you have these goofy footnotes and throw in a plethora of science fiction references.