Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bernese Bat Signal

We bumped into this unreal sunset/cloud/mountain configuration up on Obersteinberg in the Bernese Oberland. As I noticed this from our room, grabbed my camera, and bolted outside, everyone from the berghaus started doing the same thing. Then I got home, and noticed this:

And yes, I saw the movie last night, but didn't see any alpine sunsets anywhere -- just that crazy Joker everywhere.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bernese Oberland

One thing I haven't had a chance to mention yet is that K and I finally took a vacation a few weeks ago, just before my trip to Bern. We managed to hike our way through a bit of the Bernese Oberland, roughly following the Alpine Pass Trail. The photos (or at least the ones we've posted!) can be found here.

Taking PHOBOS Apart

One of my BNL colleagues wanted to see these again, so I decided just to go ahead and post them online. These are the most recent photos of PHOBOS in its final incarnation, as it was when we had to take it apart in 2005 and put it in "cold storage" for a few years. You can finally see all of the various pieces of the system we usually show as a CAD drawing in our scientific talks -- the magnet, the silicon, the beampipe, etc. Frankly, while at first glance it looks quite chaotic, I find the silicon detectors themselves alarmingly symmetric and beautiful looking. And incredibly clean, which is unsurprising considering they were safely protected in a light-tight enclosure for 6 years! Enjoy.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

View from Fort L'Ecluse

Still catching up from my long trip. Here are a few photos from an afternoon playing hookey from meetings. An ALICE friend of mine had stumbled onto Fort L'Ecluse years ago, on another hookey trip, and wanted to check it out again. However, this time they'd completely revamped the fort, made it into a museum, and given access to the upper fort (Fort Superieur) 1000 steps in the air. While I hadn't expected a Washington Monument level climb, it was totally worth it for the views (of Mont Blanc, the Rhone, and the Vuache) which happened to be on the most perfect day I'd seen in Geneva for quite a while. Anyway, enjoy.

For those curious, the fort is a drive about 20 minutes southwest of CERN (just between Meyrin and Saint-Genis-Pouilly, straddling the border), at a "notch" in the Jura just below Collonges, which looks like this (thanks, Google):
So it gives fantastic views towards the Alps to the east, especially Mont Blanc, which features prominently in a few of the photos.

Friday, July 11, 2008

CERN Rainbow

I know things have been silent on this blog since before I left for Switzerland, but it's been flat out for me since that Wall-E post. First I had to get ready for my trip, which involved a week in the Bernese Oberland, a week in Bern for an ATLAS meeting, and now a partial week here at CERN getting my head around ATLAS itself. Then I had to hike up and down mountains for a week, breathing the cleanest air, drinking the cleanest water, and eating lots of swiss hiking food. I've just finished the week in Bern, which is an unbelievably nice place, especially with the weather. And now I'm holed up in a hostel room at CERN (the CERN hostel being better than many hotels I've seen) waiting out the intermittent rainstorms. Of course with crazy weather comes some crazy luck, like this circular rainbow hovering over Geneva: auspicious, no?