2017-04-21 (Friday)

Today, I learned that:

In Brazil, today is a national holiday, remembering a movement at the end of the 18th century, which eventually resulted in independence from Portugal. The leader of the rebellion was a dentist, named Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, so today is known as “Feriado de Tiradentes”. More about it in reference #1 below. Given the current state of chaos in Brazil, let us hope that another dentist will show up soon, clean the house and fill the holes!

Tomorrow is Earth Day and many activities will occur all over the globe. One such action is by the unified scientific community which will protest about the way facts and science are treated currently. March for Science is planned in 54 different countries, with USA naturally leading the movement. In Sweden, the major university cities will also hold their marches, e.g. if you are in Göteborg (Gothenburg), why not join Stefan Bengtsson, Pam Fredman and many others in your protest. More information can be found in references # 2 and 3 below.

March for Science

Cities where March for Science will take place on 2017-04-22, most probably one near you!

One important ingredient in the protests is to, once more, show how our earth is suffering from the global warming that really is taking place. Among other things, it is threatening to put entire nations under water. One such nation is called Vanuatu. It is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, see reference #4 below. I just received some interesting photos from there, sent to me by my friends Helen and Tomas, who are currently visiting Vanuatu. Just think of not being able to experience a ceremony like that in the following photo of the indigenous population. In a future post, I will show more photos.


A photo from Vanuatu, taken on 2017-04-18 by Helen Rollinson

… That’s what I learned in school !


Do you need to TRANSLATE DOCUMENTS between ENGLISH, BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE, and the SCANDINAVIAN (SWEDISH / DANISH / NORWEGIAN) languages? Contact “Byrån / The Taskforce” here !!!

1: Tiradentes

2: March for Science

3: March for Science Sweden

4: Vanuatu

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-11-30 (Wednesday)

Today, I learned that:

The older one gets, the faster time seems to pass! Lately, that has been more true than ever, but exactly one month ago I discovered the time machine:

My family had travelled to the city of Umuarama in the southwest corner of the Brazilian state of Paraná, where my son, a scholar in IT, would present a paper at an international congress about recent progress in various fields of development and sustainability. Since Umuarama is located only one hour drive from the border with Paraguay, we decided to go there and do some advance Christmas shopping.

It was then that we took the time machine twice, back and forth, in the afternoon of Friday 2016-10-28. When we left the state of Paraná, local time was 14:00 DST. We took the almost 4 km long bridge over Rio Paraná to its right side, in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, in a different time zone, and arrived there at 13:03 DST. Then, we travelled on and crossed the border between Brazil and Paraguay some 5 minutes later, and when we did so the local time in Paraguay was suddenly 12:08! So, in less than 10 minutes by car, we had travelled back 2 hours in time! Is that not a fantastic time machine?


Look at the photo above, I took it when we planned of going back by ferry to Brazil after our shopping spree. It was taken from the landing of the ferry boat in Salto del Guairá, Paraguay. Unfortunately, that day the ferry was grounded for maintenance, so we had to take the highway back again. In the horizon is Ponte Ayrton Senna, a bridge connecting Novo Mundo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil with Guaíra, Paraná, Brazil. At this Paraguayan location the local time is 15:00, in Mato Grosso do Sul it is 16:00 DST and in Paraná it is 17:00 DST. The distance from the border between Paraguay and Brazil to the shores of Guaíra is 10 km, meaning that going by car in less than 10 minutes we experienced the time in three different time zones, for the second time that day.

I think that this fact should enter the Guinness Book of Records as being the fastest event of experiencing three different time zones!

And if you read this post on November 30, then there is still time to participate in an interesting experiment, the BIG Bell test. Reference #1 below speaks about how 30 000 scientists will try to discover if the entanglement theory is true, i.e. if measuring one electric particle will affect another particle far away. Einstein did not believe in it, so why should we?

Reference #2 below gives all the details to permit you to participate. Good hunting!

… That’s what I learned in school !


Do you need to TRANSLATE DOCUMENTS between ENGLISH, BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE, and the SCANDINAVIAN (SWEDISH / DANISH / NORWEGIAN) languages? Contact “Byrån / The Taskforce” here !!!


1: Gigantiskt experiment ska avslöja beteendet hos materiens innersta

2: The BIG Bell test

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-05-22 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

The Brazilian-Swedish seminar I attended earlier this week, see my post of 2016-05-18 , was in fact the fifth of the same type that SACF (Swedish Academic Collaboration Forum) arranged. Earlier, it had been hosted in Korea, Singapore, China, and Indonesia, all with the aim to promote the exchange of ideas and opinions in academic matters and scientific research. In February, 2017, there is planned another event, where the participating countries of these five seminars will gather in Stockholm, Sweden, for a follow-up.

Today, I will concentrate on the seminar in Brazil and hope to be able to comment on the earlier four on a later occasion. The two days in Brasília were packed with interesting presentations and networking opportunities. And the earlier weeks of commotion in the federal capital could not be seen here, on the contrary. There were many positive and inspiring comments on what happens when Brazilians and Swedes join forces in advancing the frontiers of science.

Basically, there were four kinds of seminars in one:

  • Top level management sessions, where the most prominent representatives from the Brazilian and Swedish universities discussed “Internationalisation and Collaboration in Higher Education”, “Funding for promoting world class research collaboration”, and “Brazil-Sweden: Importance of University & Industry collaboration”.
  • 5 different series of academic sessions, namely “Imaging and Visualization in Life Science”, “Novel Functional Materials and Nanotechnology” (2 parallel sessions due to the number of topics presented),”Inclusive Education: Gender & Ethnicity”, “Sustainable Development: Energy, Environment and Biodiversity”, and “Machine Intelligence and Autonomy” (also 2 parallel sessions due to the number of topics presented).
  • A funding seminar, where funding agencies and universities interchanged ideas and suggestions about various aspects of funding of scientific research.
  • An innovation seminar, where the Swedish innovation agency Vinnova presented programs for funding and gave various examples of successful Swedish-Brazilian projects.

I decided to dedicate my time of the academic sessions to learn more about new materials and nanotechnology, to follow up the knowledge I had acquired through the MOOC about graphene in 2015, see also my post of 2016-02-01. Below are some pictures I took of the event.

I wish to extend my sincere gratitude for inviting me, to the organizers of this extra ordinary seminar with so many brilliant minds gathered in one place, Gustaf Cars (Uppsala University), Helena Balogh (Linköping University), and Åsa Valadi (Chalmers University of Technology)!


Update 2016-05-29:

On the web site of CAPES, there is further information, with photos, of the two days of seminar. Please consult references #2 and 3 below.

Finally, I just learned that the mysterious first chord of the Beatles song from 1964,”A hard day’s night”, in fact are three different chords, played by George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, joined into one. That is what I call a perfect cooperation project! Reference #1 below, in Portuguese, presents all the facts behind this Magical Mystery Chord, with images and video clips.

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Um acorde mágico dos Beatles revelado depois de 52 anos de mistério

2: Capes recebe Seminário de Excelência Brasil-Suécia

3: Brasil e Suécia pretendem intensificar cooperação científica entre os dois países

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-05-18 (Wednesday)

Today, I learned that:

Although two countries are very distant from each other, they can still learn a lot from each other if they cooperate. That is definitely the case of Sweden and Brazil. I was invited by SACF (The Swedish Academic Collaboration Forum) to participate in a scientific seminar of excellence in Brasília, the federal capital of Brazil. It started yesterday with six different topics, held concurrently, and will continue today. I am participating in topic #2, which deals with ´Novel Functional Materials and Nanotechnology´ and will return later this week with a resume of it. See also reference #1 below. The following photo shows some of the famous buildings of Brasília, taken at sundown yesterday.


Today is the day when we congratulate persons named Erik, since May 18 is his day. I am proud to have a father (in memoriam), a son, and a nephew who all are named Erik, as well as a Norwegian friend called Eirik, the Norwegian variant of the same old Nordic name, as you can see in reference #2 below. And I also would like to include my daughter Karina in the celebration, because she just received a MENÇÃO HONROSA (“HONORARY MENTION”) from her school, Instituto Federal do Paraná. Congratulations to you all!

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Top Brazilian and Swedish universities join together for the fifth SACF Excellence Seminar

2: Behind the name Erik