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Frank Simon | MPI for Physics | Germany

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Summer – Is that it?

Empty lake north of Munich: At a weekend at the end of August, no grass should be visible for all the people lying in the sun... But it feels like fall, not like summer with temperatures just a bit over 10 deg. C.

Empty lake north of Munich: At a weekend at the end of August, no grass should be visible for all the people lying in the sun... But it feels like fall, not like summer with temperatures just a bit over 10 deg. C.

It already feels like fall. Munich has been quite cold and rainy lately, and even on days with sunshine, the thermometer never made it above 20 degrees C. Last weekend I had to get out my long cycling pants when I took my bike for a spin. Passing by a local lake that is usually packed with people lying in the sun or swimming on a weekend in late August in the Bavarian school holidays, it really felt like that Don Henley song… “Empty streets, empty lake…”.

Another sure sign that fall is coming: Travel has started again. After two months at home, right now I’m sitting on a flight to Geneva, enjoying the fantastic alpine panorama that passes by. That immediately reminds me of earlier this year, on what very well might have been the hottest day of the whole summer in south-eastern Germany, the day of the final of the soccer world cup. What a crazy idea to go hiking just on that day! But we did it, a strenuous climb in brutal heat. The reward was however, once we were 1000 meters above the Inn valley, the air was fresh and a lot less stifling. Plus, a fun rock scramble over something like 50 vertical meters up to the “Wasserwand” (literal translation water wall, but there was no water anywhere near). Quite exciting, with hands slippery from sweat gripping steel cables. The tough thing about these types of climbs is always that going up is easier than going down, since you can see where to put your hands when you go up, but not necessarily where to put your feet when you go down.

Going back down on the steep south face of the Wasserwand: A good thing that there is a massive steel cable to grab just in case just outside the picture on the left.

Going back down on the steep south face of the Wasserwand: A good thing that there is a massive steel cable to grab just in case outside the picture to my left.

The summits outside the window however are much more intimidating, and way beyond my mountaineering abilities… Mont Blanc is now coming into view, with the Aiguille de Midi sticking up left of the summit, all covered by snow glistening in the evening light above the clouds… That means I’m getting close, time to shut down the computer, and to get into test beam mood, which we’ll start tomorrow morning at the CERN Proton Synchrotron.

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