Blog - Switzerland

Added on Thursday, 2014-12-04 09:34 CET in category Traveling
A few weeks ago our good friend Jeremy (from Taiwan) got married to Rebecca. They planned their honeymoon to Switzerland and Greece, and invited us to join for a few days in Switzerland.

Geneva

We arrived a day early to Geneva, where we strolled around the city center and of course visited the Jet d'Eau, one of the highest fountains in the world, with water at the base coming out at 200 km/h.

Cosy centerJet d'Eau (Most of the trip was very overcast, so check out Wikipedia for some nicer pictures ;)

We also met up with our friend Alina, who lives there. She explained how pretty much all of Geneva is into running to combat their depression. Living in a golden cage making way too much money isn't easy, after all…

Engelberg

The next morning we picked up Jeremy & Rebecca from the airport, and after a quick stroll through Zurich and Lucerne, we headed to Engelberg, to visit the Titlis mountain. Going up isn't cheap, because effectively you have to buy a daily ski pass, but it's well worth it.

While we were going up by cable car I saw my first ever glacier, and eventually enjoyed the stunning view on top.

View from the ski liftMy first glacierInside the glacier Stunning view

After a lot of climbing and playing around in the snow it was time to head back.

Zermatt

After Engelberg we drove to Täsch to take the train to Zermatt (no cars allowed there), the tourist town just north of the Matterhorn. Unfortunately we got there too late to still go up the Gornergrat mountain, so instead we indulged in local chocolate and the hotel's spa and restaurant, before falling asleep in front of the crackling fire… :D

Local chocolateMatterhorn Cozy hotel room

CERN

Early in the morning we left Jeremy & Rebecca to enjoy the rest of their honeymoon and drove back to the airport, but not before a visit to CERN, also known as the European laboratory for particle physics. We were given a guided tour along CERN's very first particle accelerator, the synchrocyclotron.

Synchrocyclotron (1)Synchrocyclotron (2)

But more importantly, we paid a visit to the ATLAS control center. The detector itself lies about 100m underground, so we couldn't visit the real thing, so here's a LEGO model:

LEGO ATLAS

That day I learned that:
  • The massive supermagnets used in the LHC have to be superconductive, because otherwise the electrical resistance (and subsequent heating) from the massive currents flowing through them would blow the whole system up;
  • The ATLAS detector contains different calorimeters for particles that interact electromagnetically (protons, electrons, etc.) and for those that do not (neutrons);
  • The beam inside the LHC has about as much energy as a speeding train;
    • It is therefore that they don't run it at full capacity yet: if something breaks, it breaks badly.
  • Cosmic rays are so much more powerful than anything that can be created on earth. The fastest one out there reached 3x108 TeV, or the energy of a "baseball traveling at about 100 kilometers per hour";
  • The guide did not appreciate my question about tiny black holes and how they evaporate :P