Category Archives: Posts In English

Nobel in Physics 2014 (?)

A spectacular discovery was announced a couple of days ago by the BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) telescope which is located at the South Pole with an aim to measure the polarisation of the cosmic microwave background (CMB).

They announced the observation of evidence for cosmic inflation to a statistical certainty of 3σ. Inflation is a period of extremely rapid expansion of the very early universe during which its volume increased by a factor of up to 1080 in a small fraction of a second. The way to understand what happened back then is to measure the remnants of that period, what we call today the CMB. The CMB was discovers by radio astronomers Penzias and Wilson (1978 Nobel Prize) and in the words of Dr. Torsten Enßlin:

The CMB is a snapshot of the oldest light in our Universe, imprinted on the sky when the Universe was just 380,000 years old. It shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond to regions of slightly different densities, representing the seeds of all future structure: the stars and galaxies of today.

BICEP2 finds first direct evidence of cosmic inflation [physicsworld]

Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun [nytimes]

Here’s the reaction of Stanford Professor Andrei Linde, a theorist who is one of the main authors of the inflationary universe theory when he hears about the news:


CERN Open Days! September 28th – 29th


CERN Open DaysIn a few days, CERN opens its doors to everyone!

On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of September from 9 in the morning until 8 in the evening you can meet people working here, visit CERN installations and descend 100 meters underground to the experimental caverns! 

On both days in the morning I will be a guide underground at Point 4 of the Large Hadron Collider ring where LHC’s accelerating RF cavities are located.

The visits are available to everyone and are free. There are 35 sites on surface which you can visit anytime, but you will need a (free) ticket to get to the underground sites. You can reserve one here: and make sure you’ve read the safety information: !

Elwood :: 2012 flashback

Hear, hear. Elwood M. speaking now.

In this post you shall find the series of photo shoots that we did during 2012. I won’t even complain about the fact that I was forgotten behind and did not visit Oxford, or London, or Gaidouronisi (better not forget me this summer as well!). I will just focus on the good moments. It was a fun year, especially after summer. We did plenty of trips and had loads of fun. Here’s to more memories like these… now, let’s dive in…

The first half of the year was pretty quiet. We did go to Paris mid-March and got a couple of photos, but nothing worthwhile; there was also a visit to Austria late August from which the artistic outcome was also not up to par with our usual standards. We went back to both places in 2013 and did a much better job, so wait for a future post! 

For some time now we wanted to take a couple of pictures in Gruyeres at Switzerland and I think this time we did a decent job. So, we shall start our photographic journey at château de Gruyeres where we went in September: [singlepic id=14 w=320 h=240 float=center]

…and this one is in front of the Giger museum which is nearby. Giger is the designer behind the visual artwork of the Alien movies among other things. Strange guy; brilliant but a bit weird as well (if you take a look at his work you’ll understand what I mean) and as wikipedia informs us, he “suffers from night terrors and his paintings are all to some extent inspired by his experiences with that particular sleep disorder”. I feel the quote saying something about a fine line between genius and insanity suits here quite nicely. [singlepic id=15 w=320 h=240 float=center]

The very next day we went to Chamonix, underneath the highest mountain peak in the Alps: Mont Blanc. [singlepic id=16 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Next trip was to the Swiss-Italian borders in October, near Col du Grand Saint Bernard where we were lucky to get great weather, which means it was mostly sunny and we did NOT freeze completely while we were outdoors taking photos: it was quite windy and with the temperature near the low single digits. [singlepic id=17 w=320 h=240 float=center]

a small step for Elwood… well literally, it’s a HUGE step… [singlepic id=18 w=320 h=240 float=center]

For a couple of shots I had to take over, because our beloved photographer was out of shape and could not frame the mountain peak accross properly. Shame. [singlepic id=19 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Late October we paid a visit to our friend Angeliki in Strasbourg and took the opportunity to travel to Freiburg im Breisgau in Germany on an open market day. That last bit rendered the procedure of taking this photo a funny ordeal for people around us for some reason I could not comprehend. [singlepic id=20 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Same day, on the way back, we stopped at Kehl at the French-German border to walk on the Pont de l’Europe bridge at dusk. We were hungry, schnitzels were nearby so taking the proper time to set up the photo was out of the question! [singlepic id=21 w=320 h=240 float=center]

And then in was Granada. Oh Granada. By the way, there should’ve been a dedicated post about this trip… oops… This one was taken at the porch of restaurante Jardines de Zoraya, at Albaycín. We enjoyed great food and amazing traditional flamenco. Oh, and an awesome crema Catalana! [singlepic id=22 w=320 h=240 float=center]

From the same spot, a “backstage” photo with the lighting setup that was used. Lit underneath using a cell phone… ever tried having a flashlight shining from under your butt? [singlepic id=23 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Dawn, with Alhabra in the background… [singlepic id=24 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Inside Alhambra, it was plain beautiful. [singlepic id=25 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Again inside Alhambra, but the umbrella was leaking water so what seemed like a good idea for a photograph was never realized. [singlepic id=26 w=320 h=240 float=center]

So, looks like our timing is getting better and better! Only about half a year later you get the 2012 edition of our travel log! We have gathered plenty of material from 2013… just wait and you’ll see!

Fedora 18 and NeverNote


As probably many other fellow linux users, if you are fond of EverNote for your note-taking needs, you might be using NeverNote as your desktop client. In Fedora 18 however, trying to install from the RPM fails with the following error:

Transaction Check Error:
file / from install of nixnote-1.5-2.x86_64 conflicts with file from package filesystem-3.1-2.fc18.x86_64
file /usr/bin from install of nixnote-1.5-2.x86_64 conflicts with file from package filesystem-3.1-2.fc18.x86_64

This happens because the developer is using alien to convert the .deb to an .rpm and somewhere this process breaks. I found many suggested solutions scattered around the web. What worked for me was to download the tar.gz version from the project download page, unzip the file and run as root the included In order for nixnote to work properly, additionally I had to:

yum install openssl-devel Gtk+-devel perl-TermReadKey

I hope this saves some trouble from others 🙂
Should you ever want to completely remove it, all you need to do is:

rm -rf /usr/share/nixnote/ /usr/share/applications/nixnote.desktop

Elwood :: There and back again and then some more… (2011 edition)

Time to end this long period of silence! It’s been about a year and a half since my last update and the blame is not mine — look at the owner of this blog! During this time I traveled to many places (but I also missed some trips thanks to someone’s forgetfulness…). But let’s focus on the positive side of things! I am here, writing to you once more and for today I have a set of pictures from many nice places; some of them interesting, some not so much.

I will open with a not-so-interesting picture from an otherwise beautiful place (thanks C.!). This one is from Morges, a village near Lausanne:

[singlepic id=1 w=320 h=240 float=center]


After this, we boarded on the plane and ended up in Madison, Wisconsin! Although I spent a lot of time indoors, in the few walks that we managed to do around the city I have to admin that I loved it and instantly became a favorite. The first picture is near a spot called Picnic point,near the university apartment neighborhood Eagle Heights. In the distance you can see the Wisconsin state capitol.

[singlepic id=3 w=320 h=240 float=center]


Somewhere nearby the previous point we decided to get some rest and a photo together (I believe it’s our first one… awwwwww):

[singlepic id=4 w=320 h=240 float=center]


Just before leaving to return back to Europe, we ended up on the Memorial Union Terrace, which is also overlooking lake Mendota as the previous photos. It was the ideal way to say goodbye to the place and friends there…

[singlepic id=5 w=320 h=240 float=center]


Oh, and by the way, the reason for the trip can be seen in the photo below. Here you can see me posing with the PhD abstracts of Kira, Christos and Marc. Good times guys eh?

[singlepic id=2 w=320 h=240 float=center]


Back to Europe now and a short trip to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine near Geneva. A nice walk next to the Valserine river is always refreshing when the weather is warm…

[singlepic id=6 w=320 h=240 float=center]


Fast forward and we end up in Paris! We made a first stop in the Parc at cite universitaire (or at least that’s the parc I think it is… it’s been tooooo long ago!)

[singlepic id=7 w=320 h=240 float=center]


The next day we visited Versailles… where the beds are small (for normal people that is, for me it was just perfect) 

[singlepic id=8 w=320 h=240 float=center]


and there are long corridors between rooms…. too much walking… that’s probably how they exercised back then…

[singlepic id=9 w=320 h=240 float=center]


A short visit to Brussels followed. Too much rain, not many interesting stuff. Unfortunately due to our schedule we could not visit the Atomium… at least we got a glimpse of it from the outside.

[singlepic id=10 w=320 h=240 float=center]


Back to France and a visit to Vlasis and Margaret in Montpellier! The most interesting photos happened in the Cité de Carcassonne, the fortress that stands out of the rest of the city.

[singlepic id=12 w=320 h=240 float=center]


The last photo shoot of the year happened in Greece! And more specifically near the Byzantine spa complex that bears the same name as the region: Άγκιστρο (Agkistro). There we stayed in a beautiful wooden hotel room and woke up with a wonderful view:

[singlepic id=13 w=320 h=240 float=center]

till next time with the 2012 edition!