I stopped by Essen in the centre of the Rhine-Ruhr-Area for one night, and briefly dropped into the University Campus where I did my PhD in a research team of the German Research Foundation (DFG). This was two decades ago.We were a interdisciplinary team working on the improvement of urban water cycles, and I was the “rain man”. There were also other Geoscientists, Chemists, Biologists, and Engineers and we all looked together at a common task from our own paradigm. It was interesting. I enjoyed that time, with all the ups and downs one has, when you are on your way to scientific discovery. It is not a famous University. But the purpose was to attract top research into an area where it was needed. This had the advantage of experiencing the object of research directly, and it was of course also meant to bring some outstanding minds on a campus, they would normally not go. What “outstanding" really means, I don’t know. I remember I was told that there were 1600 applications per scholarship position. If “outstanding” means “competitive”, then yes: we were outstanding. Now the department moved to another campus nearby. I dropped by my old office, where now genetic research labs are. In the Geosciences nobody was in. All were out for field work, I assume. Funny, how all the old pictures and memories come back walking through the streets and halls. But the main reason to come to Essen this time was to meet a friend, who is just recovering from a severe brain surgery. He is well, but copes with the uncertainty of living another 12 months, 12 years, or longer? I know the stats is different for him, but actually, we all have that uncertainty every day. Just he of course thinks more about it, and we don’t. Whatever consequences he draws one day for his life, we probably should come to similar conclusions for ours.