5Goes London

With huge anticipation we met at Zug train station at 9 am and were looking forward to an exciting, thrilling and educational week in London. Without any problems we arrived in Zurich airport and met our accompanists from SimplyScience and Interpharma. Shortly after we found ourselves on the plane fastening our seatbelts. We enjoyed our flight and landed in London safe and sound. After arriving in London we visited “The Old Operating Theatre” where we got an interesting insight into the roots and development of the history of medicine. For example we saw the medical instruments for amputations. Our visit made us realize how privileged we are to live nowadays with modern medicine. Amazed we went to our Hilton Hotel. There everyone checked-in into their own room. Before dinner we went on a short walk and checked out the surrounding area. At 7:30 pm we enjoyed a fantastic meal and great service. We finished this first awesome day by sitting, talking and playing cards together.

(Michael, Timo, David)

Back home again

Last Friday we had to pack our things. Then we went shopping in downtown San Francisco. Before Peter, our driver, brought us to the airport, we walked up and down the famous curved and steep Lombard Street. To soon it was time to say goodbye to our lovely guides Stacy and Barbara. They did a great job.

And now we are back home again with lots of impressions and memories. The following statements and pictures are only a small part of it. Enjoy the last post in this blog.

„The week in San Francisco was incredibly amazing. I learned tons of new things about what being a scientist means and what they do. In addition to that I heard some great speeches of famous scientists which fascinated me.

During the week I also got the chance to discover the great city San Francisco, the lifestyle in the U.S. and the mentality of the american people.“

„I can’t say that one thing was the most interesting because everything we did was interesting and special. Visiting companies like Genentech is an example. My interest in studying chemistry has risen immensely because I saw in which different ways a chemist works.“

„The University of Santa Cruz, this leading University in Astronomy and Marine Biology in the middle of a forest, not in a big City, fascinated me somehow. The campus in the woods, with the slight smell oft the redwoodtrees needles had a special athmosphere.“

„The things I most enjoyed were all in the nature: Muir woods with it’s big trees and birds, the Pacific in Santa Cruz with it’s waves, the sailing trip and the Golden Gate Bridge. But also the visit in the Livermore Highschool and the contact with the American students were great.

And the tour in the labs of Genentech was very interesting.“

„It was very interesting to talk with american students at the same age as we are about similarities and differencies of our countries and about things we are interested in. So we spoke about politics, sport, driving and drinking. We recognised that we have a lot in common. I hope we will keep in touch.“

„I was fascinated by the speeches about different subjects, like the one about Neurology. Certain subjects did awaken my interest and I can very well imagine, to study and work once  in one of them.“

„I was impressed by the mentality and the kindness of the American people. They were very friendly and obliging. I did like to learn about their way of life and to talk and laugh with them.“

„I am very excited about the Livermore Highschool. It was interesting to see the differencies and to compare with our school.

It was also interesting to talk with our companions and our guides. They helped us to think about our own future. It was enriching to hear what they did and do.

Now I am really sure, that I will study Medicine. Before the trip to America I wasn’t sure about that.

But I can’t tell you what the best part of this week was, because I saw so many interesting things.“

„Because of this week in San Francisco, especially the visit at Genentech I am even more interested in studying Biology.“

„This week was so exciting for me. I enjoyed the tour in the labs of Genentech and I loved seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. Especially in the night the city of San Francisco was wonderful with the illuminated bridges and skyskrapers.“

I was extremely inspired  by the two speeches at Genentech. Both, Art Levinson and Ryan Watts, did underline the importance of following your own passion and interests. I think they didn’t want to promote science at first place, but to inspire us and show us the fascination of science in their jobs. For me it was an honor to have the chance to talk to them and being part of this whole amazing week in San Francisco.“

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Biology lesson with the Livermore senior students

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exploring the campus of the Stanford University

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a round table with Genentech’s founders Herbert Boyer and Robert Swanson

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Chinatown

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campus of the University Santa Cruz

 

 

 

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Pacific at Santa Cruz

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seastar in the aquarium of Santa Cruz

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visit in the Exploratorium of San Francisco

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sealions at Fisherman’s Wharf

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Muir Woods

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California Academy of Science

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Where giants grow…

First we drove to the well-known Golden Gate Bridge.

We enjoyed a little walk over it although it was very foggy.

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Afterwards we headed to the Muir Woods which was different from all the other things we have seen yet. We were surrounded by skyscrapers in the city and by other giants in the redwood forest. The redwood trees were absolutely impressive and the atmosphere was totally magical.

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Back in the city we visited the California Academy of Sciences. We explored the simulated Rainforest in the glass dome and the underground aquarium after a healthy lunch.  There we discovered different butterflies, reptiles, birds, insects and fish. A guide led us through behind the scenes of the museum. He showed us their huge collection of preserved sea-animals and a vault with valuable gems.

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After a short break in the hotel we went bowling. We ate a lot, had fun and crowned our winners. The last evening ended in the Biscuits and Blues bar where we enjoyed the live band.

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Colliding stars

After a short breakfast, we checked out of our hotel at Burlingame and headed for Santa Cruz. The campus of the University of Santa Cruz is very scenic and we even saw some deers there. Their mascot is a banana slug but we didn’t spot any. The biology student that took us around explained the life on campus and what Santa Cruz is famous for.

David Hilyard gave us an outstanding insight of his optical instruments and lenses which he produced for example for the Keck observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. P1010867

We also saw the workshop of Don Gavel, director of the Adaptive Optics laboratory.

Then we had three lectures about the newest researches in astrophysics. One of them even published an article in the world famous science magazine “National Geographic”.

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Then we had lunch at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. They even have a skeleton of a Blue Whale there.

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The view at the shore was amazing. In the aquarium we got the chance to pet a shark, sea urchins and so on. In the afternoon we went back to San Francisco and visited the newly reopened Exploratorium, an exciting science museum which had been the inspiration for the Technorama in Winterthur. Then we moved to Pier 39 and observed a bunch of sea lions playing and chilling.

In the evening we had the pleasure to go on a sailing trip on the San Francisco Bay.

Even if it was very cloudy and windy, we enjoyed the boat trip in the bay, around Alcatraz Island and to the Golden Gate Bridge, very much.

To round up the day we had dinner at the Franciscan Crab Restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf.

Before going to sleep we enjoyed a tasty ice cream at the famous Ghirardelli Chocolate factory.

See ya tomorrow!

From students to real scientists

Today we drove with our little cute bus to the big campus of the Stanford University. There we split up in two groups and searched some of the buildings to take funny pictures of us in front of them. It was very impressive, because the campus is like a little village in compare of a university in Switzerland.

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Afterwards we went on to Genentech, where the real scientists work.
With an informative guidance we got introduced into biotechnical synthesis medicaments based on proteins and antibodies. It was awesome to see how exactly they work. The future of these medicaments is that they should fit for individual genotypes.  After a delicious lunch, we listened to the presentations of two famous men of Genentech. Ryan Watts, the director in neuroscience, told us about the development of a medicament against Alzheimer, which can inhibit the formation of protein plaques in the brain. We were glad to meet Arthur D. Levinson, the chairman of Genentech and a member of the Roche Board of Directors. He’s also chairman of the Board of Apple. We listened carefully to the presentation of the different medicaments against cancer diseases, especially to breast cancer. We enjoyed the following lively discussion with him.

In the evenings we visited happily one interesting part of San Francisco: Chinatown. We saw at first the touristy Chinatown and then the old part of it. We concluded the long day with a delicious dinner in an original Chinese restaurant.

Making new friends allover!

This morning we got up very early, at 6 o’clock. We drove with our bus one hour to the Livermore High School. There we were received by some students of the biology class. We did a tour around their school in small groups. We saw their favorite places. We were surprised about their sports grounds and activities and about the variety of subjects they can chose like mechanics, cheerleading, making videos for the weekly school news,… We had time to discuss with Livermore students and to find out about similarities and differences between the schools and our lifestyle. After that we had a biology lesson together. We had a lot of fun and we will keep in touch with them.

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We had lunch at Roche Molecular Diagnostics with the Livermore students. Afterwards we extracted DNA of bananas. You can see that on the next picture.

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We had the occasion to visit different labaratories. They work with modern biochemical techniques like PCR and HPLC there.

Four scientists told us about their careers and their work and gave us hints for the future. Then we had to say goodbye to the Livermore Cowboys (the cowboy is their school mascot).

In the evening Barbara and Stacy had the great idea to visit “Boomers” a fun game park. We enjoyed Go Kart, mini-golf and a lot of video games. After tasty pizza in the sun we went back to the hotel.

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Tomorrow we will have an other busy day and so we go to sleep now…

Let’s go 49ers, let’s go!!

Today we went to the famous Candlestick Park Stadium to watch the Football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers from Wisconsin.

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Before the game started we were invited to the Tailgating party:SOTM day 2 001 a huge barbecue with 70’000 people, tons of food, loud music and lots of funny dresses. At 1 pm the amazing ceremony started with the american anthem, the cheerleaders dancing performance and some jets flying over the stadium. SOTM day 2 002Finally the game began. The first three quarters ended even: both teams scored in each quarter one touch down. So the tension rose for the final quarter. The last quarter started with a field goal for the 49ers, followed by a touch down of the Packers. The 49ers managed to turn the game around with another touchdown and a field goal. We were all happy they won 34 to 28.

Then we had a walk through Burlingame, which is a neat shopping area with a lot of tiny shops and cafes.

Afterwards we went to have dinner at the In-n-out Burger just around the corner from our hotel. Everybody enjoyed the tasty sauce on the hamburgers and the french fries.

Good night, we’re all very tired and looking forward to tomorrow’s challenges.