For those of you who have been quite regular at reading these posts, my trip to Germany is kinda old news. Unlike my previous attempt, weather gods in UP (Michigan’s Upper Peninsular) were more than kind and none of the flights had any technical difficulty (FYI – technical difficulty does not necessarily/always mean technological difficulty. It’s often a very lame excuse given by Airlines when their flights are under-booked and they don’t want to fly!). Journey from Houghton to Minneapolis in the twin engine carrier, as always, was quite a bumpy ride – thanks to some not-so-rare atmospheric phenomenon. What was unusual and took me by a great deal of surprise was the fact that the computer did not randomly select me for extra security check! Trans-Atlantic flight was fun too – needless to mention that these carriers have individual on-demand display units but the choice of movies kinda sucked this time. Having four trainee flight attendants on board meant that pretty much everybody, who wanted to, got first class service in economy class seating.
Amsterdam, unlike all my previous visits, greeted me with warm weather. However, a technical difficulty prolonged the continuing flight to Düsseldorf by an hour but nevertheless gave me an opportunity to get the first official meal in Europe! Fact that some one from the Neumann Institute of Computing was kind enough to work on May Day meant that the journey from Düsseldorf to Jülich was much shorter and a convenient one.
Around The Town
This smallish but quite historic (both in terms of the general and science/technology) town makes just about any one stop and take pictures of pretty much everything there is to see. Some that have captured the attention of my camera are below:
CBSB ’07 Workshop
Set amidst very beautiful and picturesque surroundings, campus of Neumann Institute of Computing reminds me of Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. Although I was never really part of IISc., tea in the café and 20% discount at the Tata Book House along with occasional public lectures organized by the Indian Academy of Sciences made sure that I frequented the IISc. campus, quite often at that 😀 Like one of my teachers usually explained and as has been my own experience at IISc., worlds outside and inside of such institutes is quite (and literally) different – almost everybody, including yours-truly, likes the inside one… Apart from the opportunity to meet people who laid foundation for this field few decades ago as well as those who are conducting frontier research, this From Computational Biophysics to Systems Biology workshop has introduced me and made me (lot) more interested in certain molecular visualization packages.
First off, switching back to SI Units of measurements. During past five years or so, I have been used to miles, feet, fahrenheit, pounds, etc… while pretty much completely forgetting about (kilo)meters, (kilo)grams, celcius, etc… Traffic signs were the first to remind me of poor memory and I will post some pictures later in the gallery about some of these. Stay so far in Jülich has been reminding me of what staying in Bangalore felt while growing up — not really big town but not really small either, kinda self contained unit. Next comes food – this is where I have gone really back to THE BASICS! There have been multiple occasions (lunch/dinner) where appetizer was a fresh salad while the main course was a baked version of pretty much the same vegetables. Don’t get me wrong – I am not complaining at all; but instead, I am very glad that I am eating as healthy a food as one can get 🙂 Realization of the fact that a good beer can make eating just about anything easier has never been more re-realizing!
Coming from Houghton, pretty much everybody (at least every other Houghtonite) can understand and appreciate our desperation to see more people. While the early morning rush of good looking people riding bicycles to respective educational institutions (nostalgic memories of MES, Mount Carmel, Jyoti Nivas, NMKRV… here) was giving me the impression that most good looking people here are really young, one of the CBSB ’07 workshop session chairs, during a lunch session, reminded me of the basics of Statistics I once learnt….
Arithmetic mean (or the average) of a statistical sample is a good measure but can often be misleading. This quantiny, arithmetic mean, is mostly a physically meaningless number but can make some sense once the standard deviation as well as the mode of the statistical sample are specified…
Sounds confusing? Let me explain. Like I mentioned, my assumptions were that much of the Jülich’s population was good looking and that most of the good looking people here were young. Apparently, I was only considering the average quantities based on a smaller sample size. However, according to people who have done much more extensive and scientific research, out of their own interest and with no income, it turns out that the population (as in a statistical population) of good looking people here follows a bi-modal distribution with 27 as the average age and very very importantly, the standard deviation of this distribution is 15! If it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, the graph below should give you a lot more information.
Anyways, I am not complaining and in fact, /me is having a wonderful time, revisiting all the basics and learning new things. As of writing this, the last session of the workshop is drawing to a close and we will head to Cologne (for a guided tour of brewery – and more importantly to taste the beer for myself and on behalf of my friends) very soon.