My name is Anthony Meilland, I was born in 1980 in Antibes, a small town cozily nested between the steep peaks of the French Alps and the warm waters of the Mediterranean sea, founded two thousands and five hundreds years ago by some brave phocaeans sailors on there way to Marseille. I spent almost all my life here, I would not change that for all the gold in the world...
Regardless of your age, Antibes and its surroundings are a wonderful playground. Of course, there's the sea. And not just any sea, but the Mediterranean: a good place to swim, fish, sail, snorkel, or just stare at a sunset over the Esterel hills and listen to the soft song of the undertow. It has always been magical : at the age of five when you build the best sand castle of history, or later with friends and cold beers, with your girlfriend, or even alone. And it is still magical now, two decades later.
But there is not only the sea, there's also high mountains with many ski resorts less than two hours from the coast. The southern Alps are also full of wonderful hiking trails, wild mountain streams than ran through impressive canyons, and thousand year old villages laid on top of high cliffs. And between the grey and red rocks of the Alps and the dark blue of the Mediterranean, there's the light green of shrublands and the darker one of forest of cork oaks and pines trees.
Well, I have to admit that I had to move a bit during my life : I studied mathematics and physics at the University in Nice, the "big" city twenty kilometres east of my home town. That's where I got my Master degree in 2004. I then moved to Grasse, a small town twenty kilometres north of Antibes, in the Alpes foothills, where the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur had a research facility at that time.
There, I started working on interferometric observations and modelling of the circumstellar environments of massive hot stars under the supervision of Dr. Philippe Stee. And finally I obtained my ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics in November 2007. I though life would get easy after that, but it didn't. Having a ph.D. in France is almost like having some STD : better not talking about that to an employer. That's why many people hide it...
But I was not that kind of guy so I choose adventure, bought some warm clothes, a scarf, some gloves, and I headed for the frozen North... Germany. I was hired as a postdoc in astronomy at the Max-Plank Institut für Radioastronomie in Bonn, and I worked three years there under the supervision of Pr. Gerd Weigelt. I mainly kept working on my thesis topics, interferometry of massive stars. Working there was nice and interesting and I was quite productive at that time (I didn't have many stupid administrative tasks to perform). And except for harsh weather, German food, and German bier, life wasn't that bad in Bonn.
At that time, back in 2008, I started travelling all lot for my job as astronomer, sometime to go to a conference, but mainly to directly perform astronomical observations. Since then I'm going a least once a year to the Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) in the Atacama desert in northern Chile. I also went to the Center for High Angular Resolution (CHARA) at Mount Wilson observatory in California.
Both places are impressive but drastically different : While the VLTI is