Fotoeins Fotografie

revisioning place and home

Posts from the ‘Science’ category

Danube, Donau, Christian Stemper, Wien Tourismus

My Vienna: 30 days of spring from the 6

Danube morning: photo by Christian Stemper, courtesy of Wien Tourismus (no.50401).

With this entry’s appearance, I’m on the other side of the world, 8500 kilometres away.

I dashed in and out of Vienna a handful of times between 2001 and 2003 when I lived in Heidelberg; but I have no visual records of that period in time. I’ve returned to Austria’s capital city for the first time since 2018. I wondered then how a stay in the Mariahilf, the city’s 6th district, would go.

That time is now, because I’m spending a month in the 6.

To minimize weight, I’m experimenting:
•   32-L backpack as the 1 and only piece of (carry-on) luggage, and
•   “no bricks no heavy glass”, but a compact mirrorless Fuji X70 camera.

The apartment location and neighbourhood are ideal. I’m within easy reach of the city’s U-Bahn, surrounded by the U3, U4, and U6 metro lines. I’ve already located a drugstore and several grocery stores, all inside a trivial 0.5 km (0.3 mi) walk. I’ve also been told I’ll have many Viennese coffees and several meals in the area.

There’s a lot to pursue, see, and do; and there’s no time to waste.

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My Berlin: Humboldt University’s court of honour

Above/featured: Illuminated by autumn morning light, Helmholtz stands proud in the Humboldt University’s “Ehrenhof”.

If you’re in Berlin for the first time, you’ll likely make your way to the city centre and the classic tree-lined avenue Unter den Linden. When you’re not people-watching, you’ll likely admire the architecture along the way. Across the street from Bebelplatz plaza is the main building of the Humboldt University (HU). In its front court or “court of honour” are several memorial statues dedicated to some key figures in the history of arts, sciences, and the university: Hermann Helmholtz, Lise Meitner, Max Planck, and Theodor Mommsen.

The Humboldt University was one of many stops in Berlin during my visit in November 2021.

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Friedhof Wannsee Lindenstrasse, Neuer Friedhof Wannsee, Friedhof Wannsee II, Berlin, Germany, Deutschland, fotoeins.com

My Berlin: Wannsee cemetery with Helmholtz, Fischer, Conrad

Above/featured: Friedhof Wannsee Lindenstrasse with Andreaskirche in the background.

I came here looking for a physicist, but I also found a Nobel-Prize winning chemist and a successful banker.

In the southwest corner of metropolitan Berlin tucked away under rows of leafy trees in a quiet residential neighbourhood in Wannsee is a small cemetery, next to a tall red brick church Andreaskirche. With the main (east) entrance off Lindenstrasse, the cemetery is called Friedhof Wannsee Lindenstrasse; alternate names include “Neuer Friedhof Wannsee” and “Friedhof Wannsee II.” Opened in 1887, the cemetery is one of the smallest in the city with an area about 1.9 hectares (19-thousand square metres) or a shade under 5 acres.

(My day trip to Wannsee was only one element of my “quick” 11-day hop to Berlin in autumn 2021.)

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My Berlin: Alicja Kwade, bridging art and science

Above/featured: Alicja Kwade exhibition, at the Berlinische Galerie. HL:X70.

In October 2021, I watched DW Culture’s Arts.21 feature on Polish-German artist Alicja Kwade. I knew I had to see her work and exhibition in person, but would it be even possible? My answer arrived six weeks later with a quick jump home to Berlin.

All of Kwade’s sculptural pieces in her exhibition, “In Abwesenheit” (In Absence)”, are “self-portraits.” But none of them show her face; the pieces aren’t necessarily simple, nor are they “selfies” characterized by the present vernacular. She is not physically present, and yet, every piece provides the visitor a glimpse into her mindset including questions she raises about the volatility of the human condition and about where we fit within a very large universe.

As former research scientist, I’m recognizing and I’m loving the influences on her art. She is clearly very interested in mathematics, physics, astrophysics, biology, genetics; but she’d be the first to admit she’d need multiple lives to completely fulfill all of her interests. The deconstruction of “self” into precise scientific elements is another way of expressing those (dreaded) “selfies” or self-portraits. I admire the clever play: it’s the breakdown into those elements that tell us what she is, and it’s the measured synthesis of those elements into the broad strokes of her sculptures that tell us who she is.

We’re all playing this game. Everyday things seem so important. But then you zoom out and realize that you’re standing with another billion [people] on a spinning sphere. With that perspective, you’re reminded to just be glad you’re here at all.

– 16 April 2019, Artnet News about her rooftop commission at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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Deutsches Museum, Muenchen, Munich, Bayern, Bavaria, Oberbayern, Upper Bavaria, Deutschland, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday around Munich: Deutsches Museum

You cannot possibly take in every exhibit inside the massive Deutsches Museum (German Museum) in a single afternoon or even an entire day. At some point, the mind short circuits, feet will ache, and the stomach sends urgent “I am hungy” messages to the brain. But for a physicist and scientist by training, this museum is a real joy.

With the temporary exhibition “Auf zu neuen Energien” (Onto new forms of energy), I learn about “green power” in Germany, about where in the country solar and wind power is best “collected” or generated. Figuring that out depends on lots of specific meteorological data. The two figures/plots show average annual solar incident radiation at the surface and average annual wind speed at an elevation of 80 metres (typical height of a wind turbine). The sunniest areas indicated with red above are in the southern quarter of the country, and the windiest regions indicated with red below are by the open seas in the north and up in highlands and mountains.

Deutsches Museum, Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD, annual solar incidence, Muenchen, Munich, Bayern, Bavaria, Oberbayern, Upper Bavaria, Deutschland, Germany, fotoeins.com

Average annual solar incidence, in kilowatt-hours per square metre (1 kWh/m^2 = 3600 kJ/m^2). Courtesy of the Deutscher Wetterdienst (German Meteorological Service), this plot shows how the country’s southern quarter receives the most sun.

Deutsches Museum, Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD, annual average wind speed, Muenchen, Munich, Bayern, Bavaria, Oberbayern, Upper Bavaria, Deutschland, Germany, fotoeins.com

Average annual wind speed at an elevation of 80 metres, the typical height of a wind turbine. Wind speeds are shown between 3 to 10 metres per second (11 to 36 kilometres per hour). The reddest areas in the northern lowlands by the sea and in highlands and mountains have highest average wind speeds above 7 m/s (25 km/h). Image/plot from Deutscher Wetterdienst (German Meteorological Service).

I made all three photos above on 23 Feb 2017. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-kpM.

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