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Frank Simon | MPI for Physics | Germany

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Hard-cooked Eggs

What would a summer vacation be without a beach? The black sand is a design mistake, though, at least for the feet...

What would a summer vacation be without a beach? The black sand is a design mistake, though, at least for the feet...

Finally: Vacation! More than a week of, with (almost) no work. Well, as you can see from the fact that I’m writing this entry, I am connected to the Internet (actually, a criterion when we selected the place to stay). That means that I’ll also read email, and work a little bit on the side, as long as my wife does not look too disapproving 😉 . For example, I am missing the Linear Collider Workshop of the Americas, which is taking place this week in Albuquerque. But as you have no doubt realized by now, there are so many meetings to go to, you just can’t make them all. But nobody of my group can attend this one, so Felix from DESY is giving a talk on my behalf to present our results… Thanks a lot! But still, I have to prepare the slides for this, but that is done now.

So, where am I? My wife and I are spending 10 days on Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands west of northern Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. A beautiful place, with lots of different things to do. Of course there are beaches, but, since this is a volcanic island with mostly black lava rocks near coast, most of these beaches have black sand. Looks cool, but hurts like hell if you walk over the beach barefoot! As a volcanic island, it also has a volcano (obviously), the highest mountain of Spain, and the highest mountain in the EU outside of the Alps. Which is a good thing, since laying on the beach all day is not really our thing. To get used to some hiking again, and to the altitude (after all, our last trip to the mountains was a while back, and I still owe a post about that…), we paid the “Huevos del Teide”, the “Eggs” of the volcano a visit on Sunday. That is a good 5 hour hike, all above 2000 m above sea level, up to an altitude of 2750 m. And the volcanic eggs, hard-cooked, no doubt, really look cool, on the light brown slope of the mountain. They got formed during the last outbreaks of the volcano, a few hundred years ago, sort of like a snow-ball, but rolling down on a lava stream instead. Toppling one over did not quite work, as you can see.

Toppling over or cracking a hard-cooked volcanic egg: No easy task!

Toppling over or cracking a hard-cooked volcanic egg: No easy task!

Telescopes on Tenerife: Physics is everywhere!

Telescopes on Tenerife: Physics is everywhere!

As a side note, the Canary Islands are far from physics-free. Of course, there is no big accelerator lab here, so not the kind of stuff I’m doing, but the atmospheric conditions here are phenomenal: Incredibly clear air due to the very low humidity at higher altitudes (something like 25% relative humidity, which is dryer than most deserts), and essentially no light pollution. So, on several of these islands there are telescopes. The one Im most familiar with is MAGIC, an Airshower Cherencov Telescope on La Palma, an island west from here. But, as the picture shows, there are also some optical telescopes here on Tenerife… So, physics (and astronomy, of course 😉 ) is really everywhere…

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