Weekend in the Dalecarlian countryside for the Swedish Conference on Macromolecular Structure and Function, held for 20 years among the red barns and horse pastures of Tällberg on Lake Siljan.
After a week clearing out our New York storage unit (final steps in our Stockholm move), we were lucky to seize a few days with friends on the opposite coast at Sierra Meadows, in the foothills of Yosemite.
We were thrilled to connect with so many old and newer friends from San Francisco and Los Angeles—not to mention Portland, Chicago, and Dublin—that made the Memorial Day trek, many with growing families.
The early summer days were gentle, the evenings golden.
Nighttime brought some stunning area musicians to entertain the crowd, and starry light shows above and below.
Top & asterisked (*) photos credit: Andy Shirey
Like most of Europe, we had a work holiday första maj (May 1st)—for Swedes, a time both to march in support of International Workers’ Day, and to recuperate from the annual Valborgsmässoafton (Walpurgis Night) bonfires. This year’s timing also made for a three-day weekend, so we took the opportunity to connect with our broader Scandinavian community, hopping the 50-minute flight to visit friends in Oslo, Norway.
After a long Scandinavian winter (like Stockholm, Oslo had snow just last week), the weekend brought a gratifying taste of spring. We joined many enthusiastic Norwegians in exploring the budding Østmarka wilderness on Oslo’s southeast border.
Norway’s Arbeiderpartiet, and a diverse crowd of related activists, turned out in force for the første mai demonstrations around Youngstorget—accompanied by Per Palle Storm’s labor monument Pioneren, as well as the looming Regjeringskvartalet, still marked by the 2011 Oslo Attacks. Nearby, Stinius Fredriksen’s 1950 memorial to FDR (top)—erected, in part, for his influential Look to Norway speech—looked on from a luminous forsythia bower.
Many thanks to our hosts, former San Francisco roommates Matt and Laura (plus effervescent daughter Evelis), for helping make even our quick trips instructive and nourishing.
After a productive week in Lausanne, we joined friends from London and Strasbourg for the end of the winter season in Ehrwald, Austria.
With snowy days behind us, we wrapped up our trip with a loop through Reutte to walk the record-setting Highline 179 suspension footbridge, connecting Fort Claudia to the ruins of 12th-century Ehrenberg Castle.
Asterisked (*) photos credit: James Ruthven
Along with co-organizers from Sweden, Germany, and the States, I was thrilled to take part this week in an inspiring workshop at the Lausanne headquarters for the Centre Européen de Calcul Atomique et Moléculaire (CECAM). Founded 47 years ago to promote fundamental research and applications of computational methods in science, CECAM joined the Swedish e-Science Research Centre, BioExcel, Journal of General Physiology and Nature Structural & Molecular Biology in sponsoring our three-day program—Ion Transport from Physics to Physiology: the Missing Rungs in the Ladder—on the campus of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in the south of Switzerland.
Our thirty participating scientists—representing 22 institutions in 11 countries—discussed recent successes and (often more interesting) challenges in studying ion channels and transporters at the molecular level. Among other things, an emergent theme was the need for a public database of molecular dynamics simulations, analogous to the Protein Data Bank or—perhaps less obvious, but with likewise important parallels—biomaterial repositories.
Alongside the stimulating science, I was moved by my virgin visit to Lausanne. The EPFL campus was populated by industrious sheep as well as students enjoying the spring sun; downtown, the Olympic Museum gardens offered idyllic views of the French Alps from the north banks of Lake Geneva. Evening at Chalet Suisse was equally memorable for fondue, raclette, and a breathtaking hilltop sunset.
Many thanks to Ignacio, Marianne, Bogdan, and the entire CECAM staff for making our Swiss sojourn so productive and enjoyable.