All meaning is born from entangled confinement, where orders and chaos are shielded from the vacuum of nothingness. All ideas are implanted, yet the origins are long lost, but much should have been born from emergence. Through the anchoring of space and time, we find our paths.

The moment we’ve been given a life, we are gifted with death somewhere along the journey. Together in a single reality, we experience billions of different ones, interconnected, locked, and knotted.  

I have been in love with space as a young boy until now. In this dream of the love of the universe, there is no struggle to find academic jobs, and there is no pressure to “publish or perish”; there is no dirty competition or all sorts of toxic academic traits… I can stare at the sky for hours and feel a deep emotional connection with the vastness, feel of being small, being a speck of tiny dust on the pale blue dot. Luckily enough, I have come a long way now, being a postdoc researcher of astrophysics, handling the imprint of the electromagnetic waves generated by galaxies billions of years ago. Yet, at this point, I started to doubt if I could continue being lucky. No earthquake shook faith, yet cracks built up through the years. Seeing too many “pointless” pieces of work being done, money, time, and perhaps career wasted. Some unethical players steal others for what? Just to publish something, to have a paper count. What is the point of it besides damping the whole academia? Look back to myself, am I really good at this? Am I really qualified? Do I know how to solve Schrödinger equations to calculate the quantum states of molecules in the interstellar medium? Do I really understand how to calculate the momentum transfer of a thick galactic disk with gas and stars rotating around? Do I really understand the radiative transfer of the optically thick dust and the lines coming through? I have seen so many blatantly made ignorant mistakes in the papers published… So, what are the points of all these? There are really good pieces of work out there by really “smart” and hardworking people. It is they who are the backbone of the skyscraper of astrophysics, and a lot of people are just pieces of paint on it.

I would not want to be the pigment but to make some real incremental contribution to our understanding of this world. I would like to make something significant, not grandiloquent; I would like to be honest, not fraudulent; I would like to make a difference, not fruitless. 

Life forks; the time that decisions have to be made is approaching. With the burden of searching for a meaning, a mystery shall be pondered upon.  


Were we there?




The floating dust burned into the wall above the heater in February, the dancing water mist over the thin ice in March, the dew on the magnolia in April, the last burning birthday candle on the cake in May, the growl in the moist air in June, the lonely nightmare in an empty room in July. It seems that 365 days of a year have become a thing from the last century. All the alphabets scattered and dissipated on the surface the paper, and the last trace of scratches was folded in time after struggling for a couple of times in vain. The lotus root is broken, so are the clinging fibers. Nothing is connected anymore. Time, time chopped off all hope of going back, confining you to the thickest cocoon. If you do not grow out of a transformation, then die inside. Occasionally, in a dream, your voice, and his face, we invariably hummed the melody that we used to know.

Holding the broken clinging fibers that have been lost for more than 20 years, I gradually realized that they are eternal. While we, and the connections between us, are just a blink of an eye. We are still there, that time and space. Yet, we are no longer there.











On hunting an academic job

Today, Julien Milli talked about his academic career path in ESO. He offers many useful suggestions which are especially helpful for people working in observatories.

The first thing that we astronomers should keep in mind is that we are privileged to be astronomers. We are able to do what we like as a career, and make a living with that.


Here I made a list of some of them which I think are inspiring.

  • Time management
    • preserve the science time;
    • keep a healthy lifestyle (!);
    • manage the priority, there’s always more to do;
  • Need to find a role model.
  • Independently build new collaborations, extended research areas.
    • Some institutes downgrade if there is a large overlap with your Ph.D. advisor in publications.
  • Build a tie with the future institute and team
    • Look for support from a team/institute and present your work there
    • Build a project in agreement with the institute’s priorities/research area
  • Keep a good publication record
    • Quality and quantity
  • Keep strong involvement with the European community & instruments
  • Maintain a good connection with ESO, with the people there
    • In the case of ALMA, via instrumentation? Data reduction technique?
  • The advantage of having 50% duty works
    • Knowing the instrument helps with making the best of the data — best quality of data reduction and debugging the data
    • Using the chance to find more collaborations with a good knowledge of the observatory