E. Kowalski's blog

Comments on mathematics, mostly.

Archive for the ‘Switzerland’ Category

Horizon

leave a comment

The Swiss Science Foundation (SNF in German, FNS in French) publishes a regular magazine that surveys current topics concerning science and research in Switzerland. It often highlights subjects that are unexpected and interesting in all areas of science, from the humanities to forestry, the deterioration of prussian blue in paintings and so on, and does so in its three parallel editions, in English, French and German.

The last issue has a special focus on Open Science in its various forms. For some reason, although there is no discussion of Polymath per se, the editors decided to have a picture of a mathematician working on Polymath as an illustration, and they asked me if they could make such a picture with me, and in fact two of them (the photographer is Valérie Chételat) appear in the magazine. Readers may find it amusing to identify which particular comment of the Polymath 8 blog I am feigning to be studying in those pictures…

Besides (and of greater import than) this, I recommend looking at the illustration pages 6 and 7,

Forest

Forest

which is a remarkably precise computer representation of the 44000 trees in a forest near Baden, each identified and color-coded according to its species… (This is done by the team of M. Schaepman at the University of Zürich).

Written by Kowalski

September 1st, 2016 at 8:30 pm

In color

leave a comment

For some reason, yesterday was exceptionally good for chameleon spotting in the Zürich rain forest

Chameleon

Chameleon

Chameleon

Chameleon

Chameleon tail

Chameleon tail

which does not mean that geckos were not displaying themselves most beautifully also…

Gecko

Gecko

Written by Kowalski

August 8th, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Posted in Animals,Switzerland

Sharks and Snakes

one comment

The Swiss stereotypes do not usually suggest a great sense of humor. But since I’ve been in Zürich, I’ve noticed a certain style of quiet understated humor, in particular in advertising.

Here’s one ad for the most famous vegetarian restaurant in Zürich (probably the best in the world):

Snakes

Snakes

Here’s an ad for the Zürich public transportation system; the left-hand man is a right-wing politician, and the right-hand one a socialist (I had to look this up; I’m not really up to date on local politics), and the ad says that fortunately there is a tram stop on average every 300 meters…

Politicians

Politicians

Here’s a recent ad to warn against swimming in the wrong places in the river, despite the absence of sharks (Hai means shark in German):

Sharks

Sharks

Written by Kowalski

September 4th, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Posted in Arts,Switzerland

My office in 1870

3 comments

The historical “main” building of ETH was finished 150 years ago, in 1864. Or rather, the first version was finished, since it was altered and extended quite a bit since then (as did the surroundings!). In a recent NZZ article, I saw this picture

ETH 1870

ETH in 1870

of the building as it looked in 1870. The red square indicates where my office is located…

Written by Kowalski

August 23rd, 2014 at 8:23 pm

The Spring menagerie

5 comments

I think readers can legitimately complain that not only have I not added a new post for a long time, but more schockingly, my last animal-related one goes back more than one year. So, to celebrate the recent belated aperçus of spring in Zürich and around, here are some pictures:

The first two are cheating, since they come from the Masoala Hall — but the first one illustrates the beautiful views from the very new canopy walk:

while the second is a rarely-seen lizard

Next comes a well-camouflaged bird, this one from a park in Graz

and another one from the aforementioned canopy

after which come a frog,

a snail,

and more frogs:

Hopefully more animal pictures will come before a year passes!

Written by Kowalski

May 6th, 2013 at 9:24 pm