SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

I have started to read a new book, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard. She takes quite a good approach and starts at 63 BC with Cicero accusing Catiline of conspiring against Rome (Second Catiline conspiracy), in one of the most popular political speeches.

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ETH Graduation Ceremony

The last chapter, the very last on my way to PhD – the ceremonial handover of the certificate. The Scherrer lecture hall was decorated festively, as were the new doctors. The ETH Big Band performed with a brassy ensemble, blaring jubilation. Every one of us then would walk there, receiving the certificate from the rector. A few words, smiling towards the photographer, again to the rector, “all the best on your way”. The same procedure for about 150 persons, non-stop certificates. Believe me, it’s nothing special. I had to return to my company in the evening, finishing something, caught in my new job.

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Doctoral examination – passed!

After a little bit more than four years of research, this day saw my doctoral examination. It certainly wasn’t my best presentation, but I made it through and passed the exam. My presentation lasted about 40 minutes, the questions and answers another 20 minutes. After one hour we were all asked to leave the room and only the professors remained in there to discuss my fate. After an endless time of fifteen minutes, I was called in the room and notified of the successful outcome. So it’s over now. I feel relieved and very glad. I feel thankful towards the many people who supported me in this time, many of them were present at my defence talk.

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Cortona Speakers

In early September, I will again go to the Cortona week, which is offered by ETH Zurich. Now the list of lecture and workshop contributors seems complete and we – the participants – were asked to moderate sessions. So I went through the list of presenters to see, if any of these persons was particularly interesting for me. And I found interesting persons, but far too many of them. I will introduce four persons to give you an idea about the diversity of persons and topics in this one week in Cortona. Read more →

Barcelona revisited

I did spend three days in Barcelona last November. After a somewhat busy December, I now begin to rediscover the photos I took in these days. The main attraction for me were the buildings of Antonio Gaudi, the well-known Spanish architect. And amongst these buildings, the Sagrada Familia is probably most popular, despite of or due to being unfinished to this day. But even more impressive than the unfinished church are some stone works in front of the building. Read more →

Back to Zurich

After one month of traveling to various places I have returned safely to my home base Zurich. The basic difference between here and there was the weather, although this is difficult to judge if you are just at one place.

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ICORR 2007

It’s day 2 of the conference now, my interactive presentation was already on the first day. Some people were really interested and so this time passed away quickly. The presentations are – as to be expected at a conference of such dimensions – diverse in their contents and presentation level. The highlight so far was a trip to Delft University yesterday. We had a lab visit there and saw some very interesting robotic projects. Read more →

Under Pressure

It’s done. A last-minute demonstration with our new CAVE setup today was a stunning success. Everything worked fine, we could show a simple example of our rowing simulator project. We had the oar displayed on the screen, and a rowing sound was played when it dipped into the water. Furthermore we could show trees with singing birds and a human figurine making a speech. Considering the minimal preparation time (we switched the whole system on yesterday at 5 PM), this was a remarkable achievement by our team. Read more →

Lost in Charlotte

When I arrived at Charlotte International Airport two hours in advance to catch my 13:05 flight to Philadelphia, I quickly noticed something had gone wrong for quite some time. Hundreds of people were forming long queues to the US Airways check ins. The advancement speed looked rather poor and the end was not in sight. So I did the inevitable and ligned at the queue for International Check In. At this time I expected my flight to be delayed, but it turned out later it was not. Anyways, there was no strategy visible in dealing with the problem. So more people like me were coming, missing flights, and needing time-consuming rebooking.

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Poster Design

Designing posters takes a considerable amount of my time. After initially using existing PowerPoint templates, I now created a new group template with Adobe Illustrator. For my personal taste, this program is much more intuitive. PowerPoint is great for slides, but it was never meant to be a graphical design tool. Anyways, I will now stick with Illustrator… Read more →