Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving in Köln

Here's a surprise - Germans don't celebrate Thanksgiving, hence no four day weekend to sit in our pajamas and watch Season 4 of The Wire (as we did last year). Instead I went to Bonn to give a talk at the Max Planck Institute of Mathematics. There are many different Max Planck Institutes around Germany for different subjects. The math one in Bonn is housed in a beautiful building in the middle of the historic center. The Institute employs a few permanent mathematicians and has many visitors come for extended stays. In addition they also have workshops throughout the year. I had attended a few talks there this summer and had seen the one infamous guest already. This man attends most of the talks at the institute and has some knowledge of mathematics (self taught perhaps?). Anyway, he reads the abstracts to all the talks and then spends some time reading up on each subject so that he is familiar enough with the vocabulary to pose a question or make a comment. Unfortunately, his questions don't really make sense. Quite a character indeed. After a nice lunch and time discussing some of my other recent work with people there, I headed back to Köln. The trip home lasted a little bit longer than the 25 minutes it took me to get there, but that was just because I spent an hour in H&M, leaving with a new dress. Quite a different shopping experience than Black Friday in the states. No turkey for us that evening, but some delicious fish (though sadly no leftovers). Hope everyone had a wonderful day!


Mark said...

So why is a mathematics center named after a great physicist? Did you get any such 'dumb questions' during your talk from the infamous guest?

Senior Fabio Awesomepants said...

Hey! Thanksgiving is long gone mon freres! Let's get something cool up here, because Senior Fabio Awesomepants wants to be entertained, and he'll run over to some blog about cats that's updated more frequently if need be.