Friday, May 31, 2013

Le Reculet at last

A month has passed, some snow melted and I was able to reach Le Recule top. In lower part of Jura mountains spring was already visible.

But because this May is the coldest May in Geneva region since 1908, when I went higher I still saw fight between spring and winter.

Closer to the top winter was wining. All this snow fell last week  (it is quite unusual for this time of year).

Finally after three attempts I reached the pick of Le Reculet (1717 m). Cross on top looks really spectacular during winter weather.

 Route down was very long and exhausting because of slippery snow and mud in lower parts.

Monday, May 6, 2013

CMS and ATLAS are two of a kind...

Today we went for an absolutely awesome visit of CMS detector of Large Hadron Collider. But before I start with the description and pictures, a short YouTube video in order for you to understand the title of this post.

I love this video, it's funny and it conveys surprisingly a lot of science knowledge going on in LHC.

So back to our visit - CERN is a place where the scientists from all over the world look for the principle of our world. But that's not the only thing in CERN's strategy. They also try and spread the knowledge about physics, educate people etc. That is why they organize free trips, exhibitions, lectures etc. I really appreciate that and we could benefit from that not for the first time.
We enrolled for a visit to CMS - one of four detectors in LHC. When I was at CERN 3 years earlier it was impossible to visit the cavern because the beam was in and detectors were closed for public. This time, with long shutdown and maintenance phase, going to a detector was first thing we thought of.

Our visit started with SM18, a place where the magnets and other elements for LHC are assembled.

For me it was a very interesting tour because the guide explained everything we saw and added some interesting stories on top. i was aware of some facts, but more or less half was new to me so I was pretty content to have that tour.

Then we went on a shuttle and drove to Cessy, a small French village where CMS detector was build only 15 years ago. It really makes me breathless to think that all of that was constructed only within 15 years. They started with a flat ground, dug a shaft of 100 m. underground, build the whole infrastructure around and constructed the detector which, for me, is like a masterpiece of science. Seriously, when I saw this I was simply awestruck. It's so enormous and complicated and makes you respect collaborative work because such things can only happen when people unite and act together in one cause.

How cool is that?
It takes a lot of champagne to celebrate all the days of success of LHC/CMS.

And at the end check out our short movie from the visit to the cavern:

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Vineyards on the border

Finally, clouds that had been covering the Geneva sky decided to give us a break and unveil the sun. Therefore we took the occasion and went out for a walk down the neighbouring vineyards. We started off from Challex, a quaint village on the French side. There is really something charming about those lovely little dots on a map, life seems so peaceful there, everything is neat and tidy and there are tiny offerings at every corner. What do I mean by offerings? Things that you watch with pleasure, that sometimes trigger your thoughts on different subjects like history, human mankind, even our lives. Such things make you stop for a while and absorb the beauty of being. Ok, maybe that description is a bit flamboyant, I admit, but if you once see those petits villages you will understand what I mean.

We found ourselves almost immediately on the vineyard trail and we made our way to Dardagny - a Suiss village of wine makers. The grapevine we passed by were not yet in full gloom, well, not even in partial gloom, I would say - they were just waking up from winter. I guess these hills must look spectacular in summer, we will definitely visit the place again when they start to flourish.

From Dardagny we followed the trail back to Challex. It was even more spectacular and, as the sun went higher, hotter than our first part of the trip. First we passed by the village, watching the wine-vaults, stopping by a chateau and admiring the flowery mansions scattered all over the place. Then we turned right, off the beaten track, through yellow fields and vineyards again. When we reached Challex I was already pretty tired, not used to the sun and a bit rusty in joints after winter, so we went back to Saint Genis for lunch.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Circus in our backyard

The weather was awful today, so when in the evening the sun pushed its way through the clouds, we went for a short walk in Saint Genis. You can't imagine our astonishment when it turned out that just a few meters away from our doorway we had camels, donkey, horses, lamas and various other creatures that came here with the circus. We could actually touch them, though they didn't reciprocate our interest and were utterly involved in nibbling at grass. Anyway, for me - a city dude, as well as animal fan - such proximity of oriental creatures was awesome.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Geneva downtown

The weather is not very favorable for me during my stay at Radek's. Today was more or less the first day with the sun shine long enough to actually get out somewhere further, so we set off to Geneva for a walk. The city itself is not new to us, but you can always discover something unexpected in large places like that.

We started from the old city of Geneva, with its St. Pierre cathedral. We also strolled through the narrow, cobble-stoned allays and enjoyed the first breath of summer.

Old town, although very nice, is not a very extensive one, so after a while we moved to Les Pâquis, the lake side district. First we passed by a must-see in Geneva - a flower clock. It seems like it looks differently in every season, always spectacular though.

Then we moved to the lake side, with an emblem of the city - jet d'eau - a water fountain of 140 m height.
First we marveled at it from the distance, but when we saw the impending rain clouds, we sped up a bit and walked close to the fountain pump. After a short discussion what would happen if someone pulled his hand over the pump, we rushed to the car, as the sky turned pretty gloomy.