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Letters from Lausanne

I was just reading The Influence of Discharge Chamber Structure Upon the Initiating Mechanism of the High Frequency Discharge by Sherwood Githens Jr., a Physical Review letter from 1940, when I came upon the delightful word preponderant, apparently a synonym for predominant. I think it is the first time I ever read that word, which is decidedly under used. However, a quick Google search furnished me with over 1.2 million hits for "preponderant", meaning that I have just been ignorant.

Many more obscure words can be found here
Posted by Boris Legradic at 8:06
My office
'Tis my office, at the CRPP in Lausanne. Right besides me is a TOKAMAK fusion research reactor, but it is undergoing maintenance work until 2008, which means my own plasma reactor (for plasma processing, not fusion, alas!) is much cooler, so there!

See more of the scenery at Google Maps .
Posted by Boris Legradic at 15:15
Bureaucracy, swiss style
Austria (my country of origin) is not known for its swift and efficient bureaucracy. Nevertheless France managed to surprise me in 2005, during my ERASMUS-year (i.e. studying abroad). I must have used about eight or nine passport photos (is that how you say it in english? Passphoto/photo de passport), and I am sure an entire forest was chopped down to produce the reams of paper for all the forms that had to be submitted in triplicate. Since I was not clapped into prison for wrongly filling in form 2354/a in subsection c, I thought that I was sufficiently prepared for the swiss equivalents.

Swiss bureaucracy is a curious animal. The swiss are known to be hyper-efficient, and their diverse departments do not disappoint. On the other hand they seem to love labyrinthine conundrums, and getting all the permits you need to get some other permit can get you into some kind of vicious circle, like needing a permit the sejour (i.e. residence permit) for your bank account, which in turn is a requisite for your work contract, which you have to have for your bail a loyer - an try to get that without a permit de sejour!

But today I finally managed to apply for a permit de sejour at the controle des habitants (i.e. immigration) - though I have to wonder at the need to know my mothers maiden name, reminds me a bit on traveling through Yugoslavia when I was little. Now I will soon be able to get a mobile, because apparently you need a residence permit for that - can't have those aliens carrying our mobile phones out of the country!
Posted by Boris Legradic at 14:22
Toxic gases
Handling of toxic gases at the EPFL is exemplary. And by exemplary I mean that it is nigh impossible to have a toxic gas spill without having alarms and automatic shutdowns going off well before that, to the amusement of all the other people doing experiments in the lab who generally rejoice in having their gas flow cut.
This is of course the point in having safety - preventing gas spills, that is, not pissing off your colleagues. But that doesn`t mean that I can`t bitch and moan about the time needed to actually get the system to release the gases to my plasma reactor - about 10 minutes, though I probably will get a bit faster once I know the check-list by heart.
For your edification, gentle reader, a picture of some valves controlling the case flow - not all of them by far, I count about 10 manual and 3 automatic valves between the goodness that is Silane or Hydrogen and the reactor.
Posted by Boris Legradic at 9:42
Why I love the EPFL
The perks for working at the EPFL, viz. the tea-kitchen. Note the different diameters of the pipes...
Posted by Boris Legradic at 15:32
Welcome to my house
Come freely. Go safely. And leave some of the happiness you bring!

Illuminated by a 40 Watt bulb (higher wattage fries the lamp), this 24 m^2 palace will be my abode until Charlotte and I can find something else. Anything else.
Posted by Boris Legradic at 9:08
Comments (2)
Ever since I am the proud owner of a canon 300D SLR, my next planned purchase has been a ultra-wide angle lens. Not anymore, since I have discovered the goodness that is autostitch. Now I just snap pictures with my old 18-35mm lens, and autostitch assembles them automagically... And I can use my money for other, better things - such as a tele-zoom (drool).
Posted by Boris Legradic at 9:02
Comments (3)
Arrived in Lausanne on march first, in the morning. And this is where I will live the next three months...
Posted by Boris Legradic at 8:56
Post for testing stuff.
Nothing to see here, move along...
testing 1..2... 3
Posted by Boris Legradic at 8:50
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