Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘Science’ category

Erwin Schroedinger, Annemarie Schroedinger, Alpbach Cemetery, Heiliger Oswald, Pfarrkirche Alpbach, Alpbach, Tirol, Tyrol, Austria, fotoeins.com

Alpbach, Austria: finding Erwin Schrödinger

Localizing his final wavefunction in Alpbach

It took a little effort: a train out from Innsbruck to Brixlegg, followed by a regional bus into another valley of countless valleys, accompanied by the illumination of sharp morning light, in a blanket of meadows and buttercups, under a deep ocean of impossibly blue skies. And on both sides of this river valley are an endless series of mountains, these peaks the smaller cousins to larger Austrian Alps nearby.

In Alpbach, the weekday morning is quiet, as the town begins to stir with people starting their work day. The bank has just opened, fresh baked bread and pastry and roasted coffee emanate from the cafe from around the corner, a couple of trucks rumble into town with deliveries. An older couple walks by, and there are mutual sunny greets of “Grüss Gott”. The church steeple glows yellow at this hour, and it’s easy to imagine with its bell the church is an aural and visual beacon for miles.

I’m drawn to the church because that was always the plan, to look for someone who’s buried in the church cemetery. Ordered rows of headstones lie as you would expect, but by the northwest gate, I find a single plaque on the bordering stone wall. The plaque reads: “Erwin Schrödinger, Nobelpreis für Physik, 1933”, and next to the plaque is Erwin and Annemarie Schrödinger’s final resting spot1. Another academic pilgrimage completed.

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Bodensee, Lake Constance, Konstanz, Germany, fotoeins.com

World Water Day: an RTW selection

Above: Early start by fishermen on the Bodensee on a misty autumn morning (HL).

22 March is World Water Day:

An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations (UN) General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.

Cape Town’s dwindling fresh water supply has once again raised attention and a call to examine usage, recycling, and waste of available drinking water.

I list the following examples of fresh water bodies to question our interaction with and impact on water sources, and to ask whether water is truly free and whether some people are more “free” to receive water than others.

  1. Aachener Weiher: Cologne, Germany
  2. Akaka Falls: Hawaii, USA
  3. Aussenalster: Hamburg, Germany
  4. Bodensee: Unteruhldingen, Germany
  5. Capilano Lake: Vancouver, Canada
  6. Eibsee: Grainau, Germany
  7. Embalse Puclaro: Región de Coquimbo, Chile
  8. Foz do Iguaçu: Brazil
  9. Lake Burley Griffin: Canberra, Australia
  10. Lake Matheson: New Zealand’s South Island
  11. Lake Ontario: Toronto, Canada
  12. Lake Washington: Seattle, USA

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Nobel-Rondell, Nobel Rondel, Nobel Prize, Stadtfriedhof, Göttingen, Niedersachsen, Lower Saxony, Germany, fotoeins.com

Göttingen: Physics & Chemistry Nobel-Prize Round-of-8

Göttingen is a university town in central Germany. Not only will I find a memorial to Nobel Prizes, I’m here also to acknowledge my academic training. I spent many years studying physics and astronomy, and while I’m no longer active in science research, I enjoy the search and discovery of the final resting spots for scientists whose work formed a significant part of my education. Visiting their graves provides direct historical connection to “academic predecessors”; to go beyond the abstraction of simply learning their names and contributions to science, the gravestones belong to real people with keen minds, family lives, and all too human imperfections.

To date, 45 Nobel Prize laureates have been or are connected with the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. That’s a phenomenal number, as this single institution accounts for 8 per cent of all Nobel Prizes (585 as of 2017).

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Mengenlehreuhr, set theory clock, Berliner Uhr, Berlin Clock, Sixt, Europa-Center, Budapester Strasse, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Hauptstadt, Germany, fotoeins.com

My Berlin: An Unusual (Set Theory) Clock

I had read about this unusual clock years ago; the unusual mathematics connection was an additional “plus”.

I leave the crowds at Gedächtniskirche and Breitscheidplatz and head on over to the SixT car rental outlet on Budapester Strasse. What’s standing in front is most certainly a curiosity, even as passers-by look at me curiously.

The Berlin Clock is known in German as “Berliner Uhr”. The alternate name is “set theory clock” or “Mengenlehreuhr”, a German compound word consisting of “Menge” for quantities (sets), “Lehre” for theory, and “Uhr” for clock. The Guinness Book of Records claimed “the Berlin Clock was the first clock in the world operating according to the principles of set theory1“.

Created by inventor Dieter Binninger, the clock first stood at the corner of Kurfürstendamm and Uhlandstrasse in West Berlin from 1975 to 1995. Local business arrangements were made with Binninger’s widow for a long-term loan including maintenance costs, and the clock was moved in 1996 to its present location at the Europa-Center.

Here is how one reads the Berlin Clock:

  • Top circle: light flashes every 2 seconds; ‘on’ 1-second, ‘off’ 1-second
  • 1st row: hour of day in 5-hour increments, up to 20
  • 2nd row: hour of day in 1-hour increments, up to 4
  • 3rd row: minutes in 5-minute increments, up to 55
  • 4th row: minutes in 1-minute increments, up to 4

Time shown in the above featured image is 1310 hours or 110pm, which breaks down as (2 x 5) + (3 x 1) hours and (2 x 5) + (0 x 1) minutes.

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UN FAO International Mountain Day. International Mountain Day celebration 2015 in Chile/Brazil: photo by College João Paulo of Brazil and the University of Magallanes (UMAG).

11 December: International Mountain Day

Since 2003, December 11 is International Mountain Day as designated by the United Nations General Assembly. Annually, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) observes the day:

… to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and environments around the world.

•   Mountains cover almost one-quarter (22 percent) of the Earth’s surface.
•   Up to 80 percent of the world’s freshwater supply comes from mountains.
•   One in eight people (13 percent) around the world lives in the mountains.
•   Mountain tourism accounts for almost 20 percent of the worldwide tourism industry.

The following provides a glimpse to the mountain environments around the world and to the challenging conditions our ancestors would have faced and endured.

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