What does Emperor Napoleon’s birthplace have to do with a scientific conference on oxide electronics? They took place on the same island – the Island of Corsica. Hidden in the quaint island town lies the Institut d’Etudes Scientifiques de Cargèse which took one domestic flight, two international, and a 45-minute bus ride to get to. Visible from the plane’s decent into Ajaccio was a single line of mountains which serpentines along two-thirds of the island. Traveling from the capital city of Ajaccio to the Institut proved to be a precipitous bus ride overlooking the mountainous terrain of native Corsica.
My trip to Baku was a homecoming: the first time I had been there was in 1995 when I was born just four years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Spending two weeks with my mother’s side of the family in the 4th microregion of Baku, I was given the opportunity to explore the region’s history as well as my own family’s origin.
Seoul is a city with an ancient heartbeat in a modern body. Here, capitalism is embraced at no expense to history, and instead intertwine into a cohesive and celebratory cityscape. Youthful and curious vendors are sprinkled along ancient city sights, while tech giants and neck-breaking skyscrapers stand ground amid grand palaces and rustic hanoks. The capital city and its surrounding area is home to 25.6 million people, making Seoul the 5th largest metropolitan area in the world after Tokyo, Shanghai, Jakarta, and Delhi, and the 4th most economically powerful city behind Tokyo, New York, and Los Angeles.