For a nuclear structure experimentalist, it might not be worth attending a big Conference, such as Nuclear Data 2016, which is dominated by nuclear reactions and an infinite number of cross-section measurements of all kinds (it’s not an exaggeration to say 80% is neutrons on uranium). Nevertheless, the limited sessions dedicated to data regarding nuclear structure had its own value: meet bureaucrats, higher-rank officials and database managers that are at the core of information dissemination and data evaluation. For all it’s worth, ND2016 was an interesting International Conference of ~500-600 participants held in a magic city: Bruges (Brugge for the locals).
Never been in Bruges before, but it surely had a large impression on me. First, the weather for Belgian standards was excellent. Sunshine, dry atmosphere, 28C for a full week and very few clouds just for a morning. Easy to walk or ride your bike, Bruges is UNESCO Heritage City, preserving the local architecture style today, which except some large buildings (cathedrals, palaces, some old factories) imitates the gothic style that makes her distinct.
The Conference did not offer any lunch or dinner, except a ceremonial one the night before the last day in the beautiful Belfort located in central Market, so it was a good opportunity to explore the city during the noon breaks and nights. Even the most fanatic anti-alcohol could not resist the charm of the highest number of beer labels offered in the pubs. Try Beerwall next time you be there and you will get amazed.
If you are not visiting for a conference or a football game (place was flooded by Leicester fans on Wednesday due to a Champions League match) Bruges is a place for a romantic weekend. You have all the comfort in time to visit all major attractions, visit monuments, cathedrals, bridges crossing the streams. You can admire the beautiful swans swimming in the waters and enjoy good food and beer. On the expensive side, especially if you are staying inside the old city (Oud Brugge), the city is simply great for a short visit.
I hear that the next Nuclear Data (ND2019) will be held in Beijing, but INPC2019 will take place in Edinburgh. So, dear students of the NuSTRAP group, put some extra effort and we could have nice works to present in Scotland in three years!