One year experience of being an Early Stage Researcher in MSCA Project

Hello again !!

This month was really short, with me going back two weeks to Lebanon for Christmas holidays. That is why in this blog I will focus more on my general experience after one year of work on my PhD.

     As Steve Jobs quotes : It does not make sense to hire smart people to tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.

It was hard for me, and especially having started a PhD without any work experience, to realize that my supervisor will not give me tasks to work on like the professors used to do during my bachelor and master studies. Every PhD student has to realize that the PhD project is HIS PhD project and your supervisor's role is to give you advice and keep you on the right track.

     As mentioned in this published article on ScienceDirect (, one in two PhD students experiences psychological distress; one in three is at risk of a common psychiatric disorder.
It is hard for a student to realize that working in rese…

INFRASTAR Training Week #2 at EPFL - Lausanne

Hello !!

In this month blog I will be talking about INFRASTAR's second training week at école polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne.
The aim of training weeks is to make us closer to other ESR's PhD topics in order to boost our capability to work with each other and be more effective by gaining professional and teamwork skills.

That is why I would like to send a special thanks to our work package leaders for the time they are investing in this project not just to put their PhD students on the right paths but also making their lifetime experience an open source for us by lecturing, judging our work and answering our questions.

We had also the possibility to present our first year work, to discuss our PhD topics and try to create new collaborations. It was the best way to fix our plan for the next two years and push our work forward. 

During a week full of lectures and hard work there was always time to have some fun !! 

Of course I have to end by giving credit to our Project mana…

Participating in the French Science Festival

Hello again !
Every year in France, and during the French Science festival, researchers and PhD students are gathered around a village of science in order to let the public, especially children, explore new technologies and research theories.
I and other PhD students from IFSTTAR had the pleasure to participate in the Village of Science in Nantes the 13th, 14th and 15th of October gathering around one thousand student and two thousand people.
I chose to start with a short summary on history of fiber optics by explaining the concept of total internal reflexion using the Luminous fountain experiment, moving then to fields of application of this wonderful and life changing technology, to end up talking about my PhD work and presenting INFRASTAR project.

This experience showed me how difficult it is to address people from different age ranges with different levels of understanding of the presented subject. It also made me realize how time consuming it is to take the responsibility, being t…

Attending the 6th International Summer School on SMART MATERIALS & STRUCTURES

Here I am again ! Hope you had a Great summer vacations !

After Being attracted by the name of Prof. Branko Glisic, and after earning one of the five scholarships intended to help international students, I attended the 6th International summer school on SMART MATERIALS & STRUCTURES with Xin (ESR2) and Joyraj (ESR3) at the University of Trento, Italy which was held from 25th to the 28th of July.

The first day was without a doubt the most interesting for me. Prof. Branko Glisic gave 3 lectures :
- An introduction to Fiber Optic Sensors
- Long Gauge Sensors and Global Structural Health monitoring
- Distributed Sensors and Integrity Monitoring

It was a resume of almost 20 years of experience in applying FOS for civil engineering structures.
Prof. Glisic took his PhD degree from EPFL university in Lausanne, switzerland and then moved to the industrial field as an R&D engineer in SMARTEC SA, Switzerland to finally end up  in the academic field working as a professor in Princeton un…

Fiber optics technology: Diverse fields of application

Hello everyone !!

As mentioned in my last blog, I will present this time a small summary on the history of fiber optics technology and its application in different fields especially civil engineering.

The history of fiber optic cables actually dates back to the mid-1800s, where Daniel Colladon and Jacques Babinet in Paris demonstrated for the first time that light can be guided by refraction by describing the experiment of "Light fountain". Later scientists started toying around with the idea of using the speed of light to transit information and continued to push forward until reaching fiber optics cables with high data rate and long distance transmission.
Today's technology finds fiber optics in many industries, in a variety of applications:
Medical field: They are used in devices such as flexible image bundles, illumination and light conductors, for light therapy surgical microscopy and endoscopy and miniaturization of medical devices. Furthermore, according to this me…

Fiber optics ! How it works ?


In the framework of  INFRASTAR project , I feel lucky to work on a new technology that made its way in our life as fast as speed of light !

Well, it's not a coincidence because the hole idea of fiber optics is based on the propagation of light ! But how does it work ? It is absolutely the first question to ask !!

Well, let me explain !! 😏

Remember your first phone when you were a kid ? Unless you are an iGen kid, your first phone has to be a two tin cans tied with a string ! And it worked pretty good !

Now imagine a high-tech version of that using pipe instead of a string. Shining a flashlight down that pipe could be seen at the other end, despite curves and twists. Turning the light on and off would allow you to communicate via Morse code.

Essentially, this is how fiber optic cables work but they can carry milllions of conversations and billions of bits of information per second !

Optical fiber is made by drawing glass or plastic to a desired length and diameter, sl…

Yeah it's me...ESR2 !!

Hello everyone !
Finally, ESR's blog is launched and the time has come to spread the word about INFRASTAR project and more particularly my INTERESTING PhD project 👌👌
Since it is my first message in this blog, I think it is important to present myself, my background and give a short summary on the things I've done during my first six months of work !!
So my name is Antoine Bassil. It looks like a French name but I'm not French, I'm a 23 years old Lebanese guy, born in a small but beautiful village called CHADRA in the north of Lebanon. Fascinated by the big reconstruction projects being held in Beirut after many years of civil war, I moved at 18 years old to the Lebanese capital after reaching my first big goal by being accepted in one of the best engineering universities, the Lebanese University (LU).
Knowing that setting goals helps laying the groundwork for success, my next goal was to explore the world of research in civil engineering, so coming to France was the…