After three years at PI, last September I moved to Stockholm to start my new position as assistant professor at NORDITA. I don't know why, but upon mentioning my new destination at least five Canadians independently replied with a friendly, “Oh, Switzerland, eh? How exciting.” So just we're on the same page: Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. Switzerland is the little piece of land just below Germany that doesn't want to join the EU because they believe they've invented democracy. Switzerland is cheese and mountains. Sweden is ABBA and the Nobel prize. It's very North and very European. It's as close to the North Pole and as close to socialism as I ever want to get.
NORDITA is “The Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics” and a very pleasant place to work. It is in many respects similar to PI. Like PI, it is a pure research institute, so there are no teaching duties. We have close ties to the nearby university, in this case the KTH (
That's then where the similarities end. NORDITA is a much smaller place than PI. As such, it is more personal, and less burdened with administration and policies. Further, NORDITA doesn't sit on a few hundred million dollars, so our possibilities are much more constrained. Most notably, we don't have a public outreach program, something I have always especially appreciated at PI.
Besides my general interests in cosmology and complex systems, the focus of my research continues to be the exploration of possibilities to find experimental evidence for quantum gravity and to distinguish different models.
I was just organizing a workshop on this topic, the ESQG 2010. Check out the website for more details. The phenomenology of quantum gravity is still a young research field but promises to become even livelier in the future. It is an exciting area to work in, and I especially like that it combines many different areas of both theoretical and experimental physics.
As for Stockholm itself, it's clean, it's green, it's well-organized, interesting, and at least in the summer stunningly beautiful. Crown Princess Victoria just got married, and following “Midsommarafton” (midsummer's eve) the whole country is now on vacation. I think of you guys every time I hear ABBA's “Waterloo” on the radio, i.e. about once every hour.
As most of you know, you can follow me on my blog Backreaction, which I write together with my husband, Stefan.
Ha det så bra,
[A week after I wrote the above, the driver who brought me to the airport put my bags into the trunk and said: “You now live in Switzerland, eh?”]