Let there be light

Remember the gray and gloomy courtyard of our institution at the time of 1st of May celebrations? Well, the gloominess is long gone, and we’ve enjoyed the best possible weather for several weeks now. The temperatures have been around +25 degrees, with sun shining from blue skies and everything in bloom. Perfect!

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To match the weather, my week has been similarly excellent. To begin with, I took some time away from office on Monday to attend the meeting of Society for Arctic Health and Biology and listen a very interesting presentation about the physiological effects of an Oulu-based innovation, VALKEE brigh-light headsets. The idea of the equipment is to direct bright light to the photosensitive regions of the brain through the ear canal -like you’d be listening light instead of sound. Non-visual light transduction is a really interesting topic, especially here in the northern latitudes where we lack natural daylight for extended periods of time in winter. I am planning to make a little field experiment related to the topic next winter together with my colleague by using reindeer as an animal model, and if everything goes according to schedule we should start in the autumn when the day length is decreasing again. So more about that and reindeer later!

At the moment, lack of light is certainly not a problem here as the day length is currently over 20 hours, and you can really see the positive effects the summer has on the local people. Everyone just seems so good mood, smiley and more social. I guess the excess light and warmth are melting us northern people!

Yesterday’s good news was from The 11th Royal Colloquium “A changing world: redrawing the map” hosted by His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in the Royal Palace and at the Abisko Scientific Research Station. INTERACT was represented by our leader prof. Terry Callaghan, who also presented His Majesty with a copy of the INTERACT Station Catalogue. You can read more about the event from the INTERACT website news.

The rest of my work week will be devoted to follow-up of used access and travel support at various stations, and preparations for the next week’s GEO Work Plan Symposium in Geneva, Switzerland. Besides work, I am going to enjoy the summer to the fullest and spend most of my time outside, either doing sports or relaxing on the beach by the riverside.

Until the next time!

-Hannele

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