Prof. Leszek Roszkowski: “Looking forward to the New Year, I remain optimistic”
One good thing about the year 2020 is that from midnight tonight, it will belong to the past, and for well-known reasons, many people will not be sorry to see the end of it. This was certainly a difficult and challenging time both globally and also locally where we live and work. At the same time, I believe that, amid the turmoil of the pandemic, with all its uncertainty, at least during its initial stage, lockdowns, mental exhaustion, perhaps some zoom fatigue, adapting to working from home, etc, that certainly affected so many of us in so many aspects of our lives, we at Astrocent actually managed to survive it all relatively well. I find this very encouraging.
Let me mention just a few highlights here. While many important things happened during the last twelve months, compared to the situation a year ago, the Centre has solidified its basis as well as its structure, and also is much bigger now. Many new researchers were recruited last winter but it took some of them several months before they could arrive. I am happy to note that this process is now basically over, and I take this opportunity to greet you at Astrocent again.
With the arrival of the new postdocs, students, technicians, visitors and administrative support staff, the team at Astrocent has expanded considerably. The Centre is still growing but now includes members from nine nationalities and four continents. With the current recruitments pending, these numbers are likely to grow further. We have become a truly international, and multi-cultural, community where we will work and operate together allowing us, I hope, to learn about each other’s respective heritages, and perhaps also at times a bit of an exercise in applying in practice openness and respect for each other.
Along with our new arrivals and the new grants on the research side, Astrocent also grew in numbers and expanded its activities on the perhaps less visible to many, but equally important, administrative support side. I will not go into details here but just to mention that the successful implementation of the Astrocent program requires a wide variety of very high-level expertise in all sorts of legal, financial and other administrative matters that most of us researchers are for the most part not even remotely aware of. I am glad to say that the current staff provides excellent support in this key area, although even this side will undergo further changes amid growing challenges and needs that Astrocent faces.
Looking forward to the New Year, I remain optimistic. This is not only simply because that is the way I am. I believe we all have good, solid reasons for optimism. The research groups have all been fully established and have been actively doing excellent research and in expanding collaboration with each other and with external partners in Poland, with our strategic partner APC in Paris and with many other high-level institutions and research groups and experiments. The process of setting up our dedicated research infrastructure is at an advanced stage. All this in addition to the new grants, especially the DarkWave consortium project, give us a much stronger basis for further solidifying the position of a strong international centre in particle astrophysics that we have already so quickly achieved. I believe this is also echoed by the notes from the group leaders below.
Last but not least, despite occasional obstacles that life brings, I personally sense a generally very positive climate at Astrocent. The climate of cooperation and mutual support for which I thank you all. As we will spend at least the next few years working together, let us also enjoy this time together. I take the opportunity to say that I look forward to working with each and every one of you.
In my view, Astrocent is definitely on its way up. Now, climbing up requires extra effort but I very much hope that in a year from now we will be able to appreciate the good fruits that the coming year will bring.