nwt 5: A guest’s perspective

POSTED: 9 September 2020

group picture nwt5

Stefan Hante, a PhD student from Martin Luther University Halle, took part as an external participant in nwt 5 and shares his experience of the week in Austria.

"The network wide training nwt5 took place in the first week of September 2020. Not only did everybody learn a lot about beam models, Lie groups and ropeway systems, but we also got to  know each other under the stunning scenery of the Ötztal alps.

The day before the training started, most of the participants arrived in Innsbruck, where we had our very first real-life get-together in an Italian restaurant. This dinner gave us the opportunity to informally introduce us and we also shared some first practical applications of geometry, e.g. how to use Gaussian curvature in order to improve eating pizza. The next day, everybody took a chartered bus to Obergurgl. On the two-hour trip those who did not use the time to nap were rewarded with beautiful views of high mountains capped by low-hanging clouds that tore open more and more as we approached our destination.

When we arrived, we checked into our accomodation: the University Center Obergurgl, which belongs to the University Innsbruck. Everybody moved in to their own wood-panelled rooms  with impressive outlook on the surrounding mountains. The sessions took place in a lecture room in the same complex of buildings as the hotel rooms and the glazed winter garden of the restaurant, where delicious food was served for breakfast, lunch, as well as dinner. In the evening we often sat together, discussed engineering, mathematics, and other topics beyond that, while enjoying appropriate amounts of beverages. Also, the Italian ESRs introduced us to some traditional Italian cards and card games."

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In the lecture room. Photo: Denise Tumiotto

"On the second day all participants were given a challenge that was to be worked on in groups. But we did not get to know the members of our groups right away. Everyone received a certain word on a slip of paper and it was our task to find those people who had words that went together. This was not only an amusing riddle, it also ensured that every participant had to talk with everyone. Most people already found their group within the next few hours, when we took a short hike to the Schönwieshütte. The path was only 3 km in length, but 350 m in height and rewarded us with the beautiful setting of the valley Rotmoostal with the glacial stream Rotmoosache and the surrounding mountains. Here we took the opportunity to take a group picturenext to the Rotmoosache."

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Group photo in the Rotmoostal. Photo: Denise Tumiotto

"A second and longer hike took place on the fourth day with perfect weather. This time the participants split up: the first squad took a cable car to the topstation Hohe Mut and then descended to the Schönwieshütte. Here, our second squad was already waiting. We had skipped breakfast and started our six-hour hike very early to climb to the 3021 m mountaintop of the Hangerer. On the way we had plenty of time to talk about future projects, plan visits and discuss the Tour de France. After arriving at the summit cross of the Hangerer, we took a break to enjoy the phenomenal view. In the end, both squads were happy to be back at the University Center Obergurgl, just in time for lunch and some more sessions in the afternoon."

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At the top of the Hangerer, Photo: Stefan Hante

"After all groups presented their take on the challenge on the last day, the summer school was over. With heavy heart we had to enter the motor coach back to Innsbruck, leaving the beautiful village of Obergurgl behind. A part of the attendees used the evening for a last get-together in a burger restaurant to round off the week of science, networking and mountains."