Preah Khan, Angkor, Cambodia

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Sometimes, overwhelmingly gigantic natural environments manage to get me hysterically speechless. In Angkor, a single tree does it.

Angkor is just unique. Its temples are amazingly impressive, both in quantity and quality. From the huge and majestic Angkor Vat, to the cute Banteay Srei, all the way to the temple of the forest Beng Mealea, Angkor is just unique!

And, at first, Preah Khan seemed like just one dramatic temple among the uncountable others.

Preah Khan

Preah Khan, just like the others? This is what I thought until I decided to step away from the main visitor paths. This lonesome adventurous walk led me to explore a mysterious, wilder and more ruined area, where trees were slowly conquering the temple! It was so thrilling!

Adventuring in Preah Khan

My exciting solo quest ended up having me facing the most amazing tree I have ever seen! This monstrous tree was standing like the frightening final boss of a video game, intimidating me by its imposing stature…

Discovering the Greatest Tree ever

This greatest tree ever was literally climbing a wall of the temple to better crash it down with all its weight! Its human-looking shape was perfectly staged to better invade the old temple of Preah Khan! This tree was legendary! And it made me hysterically speechless!

Fighting the Greatest Tree ever

The Greatest Tree ever

After all this excitement, I called up Bertrand, who took all these awesome pictures I am sooo thankful for!

Preah Khan is 2nd in my top 10 touristic visits.

The Rinjani Rim, Indonesia

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What an incredible sensation to wake up, come out of the tent and be faced with a breathtaking sunrising sight on a world-class natural wonder!

Rinjani 1

And if you turn your head, you’ll get to gaze at the Gili islands and Bali’s Gunung Agung…

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The second day of this 3-day trek with Ellie, Céline and Alexandre began wonderfully! After a nice hot tea and breakfast served by our guide, we started the hiking along the rim of the enormous caldera of the Rinjani volcano. All along this hike, my eyes were fixed on the dramatic cute smaller active Barujari volcanic cone, centered-staged in the lake filling the caldera.

Rinjani 1-3

The rim went down for a closer more intimate view on the Barujari volcanic cone, and the beautiful turquoise of its surrounding lake. This is just pure wonder!

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But before having lunch on the shores of the lake, we made a small relaxing detour to hot springs. Now, this was not my first hot springs, so I wasn’t expecting to have my mind blown. But bathing in the hot waters beneath a breathtaking cold waterfall after a day and a half of exhausting walk was just extraordinary! I’m still not sure how I ever managed to leave this unique location…

Rinjani Hot Springs

After lunch though, a demanding hike up took us through the fogs. These were the hard times. But our guide took us through a nice, albeit slightly dangerous, shortcut. And at 3:30 pm, we made it through the fogs to end up with one last great sight, although this time was a view on the other volcanoes of Lombok island, as well as on Pulau Mojo!

Rinjani Team

This viewpoint was where we were about to camp. It was cold and very windy. Faced with this unwelcoming weather, it was such a pleasure to stay in our warm sheltered tents, with the sound of the ghastly wind… This is where we had our guide serving us several hot teas and some delicious dinner! Sooo nice!

This Rinjani rim hike is 3rd in my top 10 touristic visits, and part of my trip in Indonesia.

A Brilliant Artwork by François Morellet

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A couple of days ago, I went to the exposition Dynamo at the Grand Palais in Paris. It is brilliant! In particular, I got stunned by an artwork by François Morellet. I’m not sure to which extent I’m allowed to reproduce his work, but I really want to share it with you!

The idea is extremely simple: Make 4 grids, and have them rotated by 22.5° compared to one another. You obtain something like that:

Francois Morellet

Nothing special about that, right? Well, that’s when you zoom in that the magic occurs!

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Francois Morellet3

Francois Morellet4

What deeply disturbed to me is that no simple pattern emerges. The image looks chaotic, random and awfully complex, despite the extreme simplicity of the construction! This is amazing!

What I love about this artwork is that it unveils some beautiful underlying mathematics! The absence of patterns is actually due to the irrationality of the square root of 2, the very same cause of the killing of Hippasus by Pythagorean philosophers! I’ll definitely write a Science4All article about that eventually!

Tongariro Alpine Crossing, New Zealand

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In 2010, I spent 3 months in the North Island of New Zealand. The best 3 months of my life. This island will forever be my little paradise, lying on the other end of the world. It has everything a trekker can dream of, including one of the world’s greatest one-day hike: The Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

Jean-Baptiste and Matthieu hiking up Tongariro

I did the hike twice. First was with my friends Jean-Baptiste and Matthieu who had flown from Australia. But, unequipped for the ice-covered summits, at mid-hike, we had to turn back.

Tongariro attacked by Manon, Joep and Lê

The second time was the right one. It was towards the end of my stay. Two of the best friends I had made, Manon and Joep, were here to join me in this last-ditch struggle.

For this great occasion, Tongariro had switched to the winter-season fashion style, as snow was covering it entirely! What a dressing this was! Tongariro was absolutely lovely!

Tongariro with amazing clouds above summit

Around mid-hike though, we got into deep fogs. With very poor visibility, it seemed like we wouldn’t be making the most of it.

Joep walking in Tongariro fog

But, as we were hiking up, on a few rare occasions, fogs suddenly vanished and made room for brief seconds of pure wonder! It was unbelievably awesome! Here we were, stunned, impatiently waiting for the next dramatic clear-out! And every time fogs did vanish, we were given another privileged moment of absolute magics. The indescribable magics of the moment!

Moments of magics in Tongariro

These clear-outs were ephemere. So was my stay in New Zealand. This only made them even more precious. And all the more unforgettable…

The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is 4th in my top 10 touristic visits.

Ma Thèse en 180 Secondes

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Cette vidéo est celle de ma présentation au concours “Votre Soutenance en 180 Secondes” organisée par l’ACFAS en 2013. Allez voir mon profil sur leur site !

Vous pouvez en savoir plus sur ma thèse en lisant mes articles Science4All sur la théorie des jeux, la conception de mécanisme et sur la définition de l’équité. En attendant les articles Science4All qui seront plus directement liés à ma thèse, mais qui ne sortiront malheureusement pas tant que je n’aurai pas publié dans les revues mathématiques !

Halong bay, Vietnam

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Grey Morning on Halong Bay

Early morning, Bertrand and I headed to the world-renowned Halong bay. But we weren’t excited. We were worried. Worried that the heavy rain on Hanoi was expanding to the Halong bay.

At last, rain stopped. But clouds remained, tinting the bay with sad grey colors. At least, the Halong bay was not filled with tourists.

Still, for 100$, we took a boat for the two of us, with 2 guides. The boat took us to a first sugarloaf, with a nice cave lit by colored projectors.

Cave in Halong

When we stepped out of the cave, the magic occurred: All the clouds had vanished away!

The sad grey Halong bay suddenly became an incredibly colorful dramatic landscape! We got back on the boat. We navigated between numerous sugarloafs and royally entered the breathtaking on-water Halong village! What an amazing feeling!

Beautiful Halong Bay

But the best was yet to come.

We got off the boat and kayaked through the bay. In particular, we went through a cave and got into a stupefying seemingly closed lake surrounded by hundreds of meters high cliffs. It was as if we had got out of Earth to enter a new world! We had found the El Dorado! And this El Dorado is stunningly awesome!

The Interior Lake in Halong

Eventually, we got back on the boat to better witness a unique sunset! The unbelievably beautiful image of the reddened Halong bay will forever be carved in our minds…

Sunset on the Halong Bay

The Halong bay is 5th in my top 10 touristic visits.