Helsinki and Chris the super hero

Trip Start Nov 26, 2005
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Finland  ,
Friday, May 5, 2006

The week took me into the business world of Finland where my good buddy Chris reminded me of how to be a scientist once again. Chris Code (which by the way sounds like a superheros name) is doing his PhD in biophysics at the University of Helsinki after receiving the second highest fellowship in all of Europe.

After creating a few proteins and turning lead into gold we left Helsinki Biomedical and ventured forth to ABB where another friend took us on a tour of the Wind Factory. Top secret robots and designs where unveiled to us and we learnt how the world works. After taking many pictures with my tiny spy camera (that I won by turning in 12 box tops from the cheerio cereals) the security guard told us to delete all of our pictures. My Finnish is a little weak so he might have been just asking to compare pictures, but rather than get shot, I thought I'd comply.

The big IHL hockey championships was being played with Finland against Canada having a little game on Monday night. We staked out a little spot in the bar and did the dance of penguins each time Canada scored. Eventually winning 4-2.

Suomenlinna was one of my favourite places in Helsinki. The city is surrouned by an archepelago and there are numerous islands around Helsinki that are worth exploring. Suomenlinna one of the largest and a Unesco World Heritage site (since 1991), it is also an old fortress island. Nowadays the island is home to artists who recive tax breaks to live and work on the island in many of the old houses that were part of the fort.

The fortress was built in 1747, when Finland was part of the Swedish realm, the headmen in Stockholm decided that a fortress be built to serve as the main base for the armed forces stationed in Finland. The island was called Sveaborg, "the fortress of Sweden".

Soon after Finland gained independence (from Russia) in 1917 the Swedish name of the fortress was officially changed to the Finnish Suomenlinna, "castle of Finland."

So a little history for you and perhaps you will one day come and visit my friend Chris in Helsinki and make proteins for yourself.

Neall
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