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Hi everyone!

My name is Sylvia. I'm a Belgian philosopher of science 🦉 🔬. I like thinking about infinitesimal probabilities & paradoxes.

I'm married to a computational physicist and we have a 9yo son. Our house is stocked with 📚 & 🍫. There lives a squirrel 🐿️ in our garden.

I enjoy , , and ✍️ , including a monthly science column (in Dutch) & occasionally 👾🤖 🌌 .

Moved here from

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Don't look for me on hills
clinging to beliefs
for which so many died.
You'll find me in the valleys
roaming with ideas
deep and - alive.


Just reading the Wikipedia page of Olivia Newton-John's grandfather, Max Born, Nobel prize-winning physicist. I love this quote:

"I believe that ideas such as absolute certitude, absolute exactness, final truth, etc. are figments of the imagination which should not be admissible in any field of science. On the other hand, any assertion of probability is either right or wrong from the standpoint of the theory on which it is based. This loosening of thinking (Lockerung des Denkens) seems to me to be the greatest blessing which modern science has given to us. For the belief in a single truth and in being the possessor thereof is the root cause of all evil in the world."

Muscle aches from playing Lego 

Our 9yo got two massive barrels of unsorted Lego, with three building manuals for castles. Our living room is now one massive sorting and building ground. I have actual muscle aches from reaching down for hours. Summer holidays achievement unlocked, I guess? 😆
The third castle is almost done, but lots more bricks remain on the floor. It looks like there's at least one more castle in there, two tipis, one or two bionicles, two boats, a plane, and so many cars...

My @SummerSchool presentation is tomorrow, I'm looking forward to sharing my thinking about some recent work with everyone!

I'm at 09:00UTC -

Sign up link:

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Korean food 

We started watching k-drama during the first lockdown & since many of these series are so food positive, I've wanted to try Korean food ever since. There are very few restaurants in our neighbourhood and definitely no Korean ones, but this lovely sunny evening we drove to Bim & Bap, a Korean fusion restaurant in Maastricht, so we _finally_ got to taste kimchi and wakame salad and mandu and as the main dish bibimbap with bulgogi. It did not disappoint. 😋 🥢 🍚🍳

Just put up a copy of my #SummerSchool / #WinterSchool talk in YouTube with full captions + the text of most questions from the chat & timecoded links to the reply, so if you're not 100% sure about what I'm replying to, you can scroll down and find it!

and if you need a link and don't have one, let me or @SylviaFysica know and we can DM you!

It's specifically intended for non-librarians though librarians who've had minimal MARC exposure may find interesting too!

📢 In a few hours (at 16.00 Brussels time), Ruth Tillman @platypus will give a talk: "Meeting MARC: the 50-year-old data format for library records".

😎 I'll be moderating this session of's own @SummerSchool. Very much looking forward to it! Many thanks to the organizing team. 💌

📝 It's not too late to sign up for this session or some of the later ones:

Finishing up my #SummerSchool/#WinterSchool talk "Meeting MARC: the 50-year-old data format for library records" - something we're still using today.

That'll be on Tuesday at 10am Eastern!

Got room @ Utrecht? :boost_requested: 

This friendly PhD candidate is looking (urgently, September or earlier) for a place to stay in the region.
Do you have a room/apartment/studio, or know anybody who might have one? Please get in touch, thank you! :boost_requested:

For yesterday's evening walk, about one hour before much anticipated rain after days of heat, the clouds were amazing. We had no camera with us, so I went back home for mine. By the time I returned to the fields, the sky was already very different but still striking.

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The house rolled down
its shutters, kept us prisoners
of Summer in shivering skirts.
The hottest days rolled by
in darkness, kept us longing
for a cell to set us free.
Finally, the thunder rolled in
with droplets, kept us dancing -
how it warmed my skin!


Holiday in De Haan at the Belgian coast: the Anglo-Norman house where Einstein stayed in 1933 before leaving for the US and another nice building.

Afterwards, we stayed for another show: KM 13 by Belgium-based Balancetoi. Two soldiers at the front played chess, piano and danced, juggled, balanced on the chord... interrupted by war: from salutes, phone calls, and orders, over cherished mail from home, to shootings. There were no words in this show and yet it spoke volumes about making art in our times.

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Today we cached a street performance by French diabolist Yohan Durand. He turned himself, his 3 diabolos, and all the members in the public into passengers on a train. The train didn't get very far, but the show went on. It took place in a park and as the sun was setting between the trees, it was like a theatre spotlight: it turned the dust from the very dry grass that his dancing feet kicked up into a theatrical event. The music was quite striking as well, from poetic to rock. I was mesmerized.

help wanted, bioinformatics, kmergenie 

Hi Fedi! Apologies for the 2nd consecutive help request 😅

Does anyone here have experience with , the genome sequencing tool? Specifically, any small test datasets I can test on?

I know *nothing* about genetics, but I'm trying to help my friend get it running on their laptop; the first step is to get it running on mine but as the data files are dozens of GBs that's a bit hard unless I get smaller ones 😣

I seem to remember a experiment where participants were made to press a button in time with a periodically flashing light. Over time, they came to think that their button-pressing was causing the light to flash.

Did such a thing actually happen or am I mis-remembering? Maybe it was a demonstration rather than an experiment?


Overcooked gaming 

First pandemic Summer, I downloaded Overcooked on PC, bought a 2nd-hand Xbox-controller, changed its plug to a USB, and installed drivers. My husband & I got to the final, almost made it, but then crashed into the new academic year, so never finished it. 👨‍🍳 👩‍🍳

This Summer, we started playing Overcooked from scratch with the 9yo on Switch. The chaos is enormous, so evening walks are mandatory family cool-downs now. 😉 Today, we saw 5 bats, 1 deer & beautiful sunset colours. 🦇 🦌 🟠

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