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Geneva, A Multi-Faceted City

Geneva, A Multi-Faceted City

I am just back from a very pleasant first visit to Geneva, to see friends who recently moved to the city. We spent time sightseeing, walking around the Old Town, and in beautiful nearby villages. Peaceful and manageable and scenic.

The city is on the shores of Lake Geneva. We were lucky, as the weather was perfect—warm and sunny, so we had meals outdoors, in beautiful and lively courtyards. Walking around the lake, we went to see the Jet d’Eau, a Geneva landmark—or watermark, perhaps—a very tall water jet in the lake. It sparkled playfully to draw me close, and then drenched me.

The lake is encircled by elegant old buildings, including the graceful and flowery Four Seasons Hotel. Atop the newer, taller buildings are signs for all of the best watch and jewelry companies, and of course the world’s banks.

Geneva is a heavyweight town given the institutions it houses—the Red Cross, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the World Trade Organization are but a few. The only such institution we visited was CERN. CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research, founded in 1954, right after World War II, to create a cooperative and transparent facility for particle physics research. CERN houses the Large Hadron Collider, as well as several smaller such devices. And a self-declared Anti-Matter Factory!!!

There are apparently two major theories in physics, both experimentally confirmed, but inconsistent—relativity and quantum mechanics. The LHC tests are designed to accelerate and smash particles into smaller component particles—and dark matter—and then measure the results in order to figure out which theory is right, or how they can be made to live together.  (As one brilliant book put it, two people went to a rabbi to resolve a dispute. The rabbi listened to the first person, and said he was right. The rabbi then listened to the second person, and said he was right. The rabbi’s wife, overhearing, said they couldn’t both be right. The rabbi said she was right too. The LHC is the rabbi.)

Geneva is a city of many parts, very deserving of a visit. Go!


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