Archive for Switzerland

a journal of the plague year [lost September reviews]

Posted in Books, Kids, Mountains, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2020 by xi'an

Read a (red) book I bought in Chamonix last January (sounds like last century, at the very least!) at the Éditions Guérin bookshop, The Bond, by Simon McCartney, translated in French as The Ghosts from Denali. It starts more or less like a traditional mountain climbing story, with a pair of cocky young climbers attacking a new and difficult route and managing the opening despite severe adverse circumstances, which is what Simon McCartney and Jack Roberts did for the north face of Mount Huntington in Alaska, having run out of food and facing the constant threat of collapsing seracs. It however turns into a inner introspection as McCartney gets stranded on the mythical Eiger Nordwand (just like many before him!) after his large group keeps breaking their Charlet Moser icepicks due to the cold (!) and end up being airlifted. He later manages a Winter climb of the Eiger and reunites with Roberts to attempt the south face of Denali, never climbed before. This is when the book takes off, from the sheer difficulty of the route to the amazing unpreparation of the climbers, to Simon’s cerebral embolism building up and bringing him a hair away from death, to the altruism of several other climbers on the mountain to bring him down from the death zone, especially Bo Kandiko, and to a trauma-induced complete break from climbing when McCartney got out of Anchorage hospital. This is gripping and moving and unbelievable. The book received a Banff Mountain Festival award and no wonder. The story told by McCartney is actually seamlessly completed by diary excerpts by Roberts and Kandiko, where they question their own involvement against the very real danger of dying from staying with McCartney, much more than giving up their own attempt against the deadly mountain. A terrific mountaineering book, truly. As a sad coda, Roberts died ice-climbing Bridal Veil Falls a few days before McCartney’s attempt to reunite with him.

Spent several evenings baking fig jam when returning from the Alps as the fig tree was full! And ended up with a total of 35 jars. Resulting into a full “marmalade closet”, as in the past weeks my mom home-made the same amount of peach jelly and my wife’s mom even more rhubarb marmalade jars. Enough to stand a whole year of lockdown, jam-wise. And ate some of the few but tasty peppers that grew in our garden, for the very first time, despite the welcomed tomato and squash invasion! Also ate a terribly greasy risotto in a supposedly highly noted restaurant…

Started watching Dark on Netflix, a German dark time-travel fiction. But while I enjoyed the complex story, the play of the young actors, and the appeal of watching a show (and a Greek play within the show, with Ariádnê and Thêseús of course!) in German, the endless paradoxes of time-travel and the duration of the series made me stop after a few episodes, the town of Winden keeping most of its mystery for me.

hope from Switzerland

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2020 by xi'an

a Swiss summer school on data assimilation

Posted in Books, Kids, Mountains, pictures, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , on May 14, 2018 by xi'an

My friend Antonietta Mira sent me the announcement of a combined summer school and workshop on “Data Assimilation” that will take place from September 11th to 15th in Lugano, Switzerland. With Tamara Broderick, Philippe Moireau, and Andrew Stuart as teachers. (Registration, incl. lunches, is 120 CHF for the whole week.)

Bayesian postdoc in Confœderatio Helvetica

Posted in Mountains, Statistics, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2018 by xi'an

Antonietta Mira (Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano) sent me this call for a postdoctoral position between Villigen, near Zürich, hence this picture) and Lugano:

Postdoctoral Fellow: Data Science/Bayesian Inference on Neutron Spectroscopy Data

Your tasks

The increasing availability of empirical large-scale neutron time-of-flight spectroscopy data and steady improvements in computational capacity have resulted in challenges as well as opportunities. This interdisciplinary SDSC-funded project “Bayesian parameter inference from stochastic models (BISTOM)” aims at developing statistical methods and software for analyzing 4D neutron spectroscopy data of quantum magnets. The project is co-directed by Prof. Dr A. Mira (Data Science Center at USI), Dr C. Albert (Eawag), and Prof. Dr Ch. Rüegg (PSI and Univ. Geneva).

Your profile

  • PhD in physics, statistics, applied mathematics or computer science
  • Solid background in neutron spectroscopy or computational statistics/Bayesian inference
  • Strong computational skills
  • Strong scientific writing and communication skills in English

Your working place will be PSI, Villigen and USI, Lugano.

We offer

Our institution is based on an interdisciplinary, innovative and dynamic collaboration. If you wish to optimally combine work and family life or other personal interests, we are able to support you with our modern employment conditions and the on-site infrastructure. Your employment contract is initially limited to 2 years, but may be extended up to 4 years in combination with other grants/fellowships e.g. Marie-Curie.

For further information please contact Prof. Dr Christian Rüegg, phone +41 56 310 47 78. Please submit your application online (including CV, list of publications and addresses of referees) for the position as a Postdoctoral Fellow (index no. 3004-00).

New York City Marathon snapshot

Posted in Running with tags , , , , , on November 5, 2017 by xi'an