I’m at the HERCULES course at the moment, which is a five-week course at the ESRF (one week is spent at the Soleil synchrotron) on X-Ray and Neutron techniques. So far, my impressions are very positive. The lectures are excellent, the topics interesting, and there’s certainly a high information density there, with about 6 hours of lectures per day. There is also ample opportunity to meet fellow (“geek”) students, from a broad range of backgrounds working on a wide range of topics. They are by far the most well-behaved bunch of students in the lecture rooms I’ve seen so far…Thus far we’ve had introductory lectures about optics, detectors, crystallography, and more general aspects of X-Ray and neutrons. We’ve also been inside the ILL neutron reactor, as well as the ESRF. Over the next weeks, the more tailored programmes start and thus we’ll split up to follow different lectures going more in-depth into techniques, optics and the likes. All in all, I’d recommend anyone who is able and interested, to sign up for this course.