DAY 9 – A day at UCLA

Severe storms, neutrinos and the Big Bang

May 10 2010

My last day in L.A. before leaving for Germany was dedicated to science at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In the morning, I met a meteorology professor at the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences who works on modelling of mesoscale systems like thunderstorms, squall lines or hurricanes. We discussed a variety of local severe weather phenomena (hail, heavy rain, wind gusts and tornadoes) and I learned a lot new stuff about the influence of topography and cloud microphysics on storm dynamics. I also got the opportunity to talk about my work at the European Severe Storm Laboratory (ESSL) and presented some data about recent and historic tornado events in France, Germany and Poland.

After having lunch at a the UCLA Faculty Center I walked around over the campus and took some pictures of nice architecture. The original buildings in Italian Romanesque Revival style are in fact the defining image of the university.

Royce Hall: main university building, completed 1929.

Powell Library: main college undergraduate library, completed 1929.

Janss Steps: original 87-step entrance to the university.

In the afternoon I had a meeting with Prof. David Saltzberg from the Department of Physics and Astronomy who is doing research in particle and astroparticle physics. He is also known for is work as  scientific advisor of the TV comedy show “The Big Bang Theory“. I learned more about his current ultra-high energy neutrino research in Antarctica (ANITA project) and had a nice conservation with him about his work for the show. Prof. Saltzberg writes regularly  “The Big Blog Theory” on WordPress discussing science behind each Big Bang Theory episode.

UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy: Physics & Astronomy Building (in front) and Knudsen Hall (behind).

Inverted Fountain in front of Knudsen Hall.

Einstein's most famous equation on the facade of Kinsey Teaching Pavilion.

For dinner I went to the “101 Coffee Shop” in Hollywood and enjoyed a (highly recommended) “50/50 Shake” and a cheeseburger.

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