Saturday, September 26, 2009


It is Research Days (forskningsdagene) in Norway, and many cities are celebrating science this week. As part of the festivities, Trondheim hosts two days of exhibits outside the Trondheim Torg in two huge tents. I manned a booth with my friend Allan, talking about the past and future of numbers. "Engelsk eller norsk?" I asked each group of people coming to the booth, and then gave my spiel in either language. We propose that our way of writing and saying numbers will eventually change, in light of the changing role of numbers in our lives (from signifying a number of something, to signifying a name or a label, such as phone numbers, PIN codes, and the like). For me, the most satisfying moments were giving folks a handout and saying they could tell their friends or parents about the most idiotic thing they learned at Research Days from some crazy guys from NTNU, and having some kids say "Crazy? No, very smart I think." Yes! Someone gets it!

It was so much fun. On Friday we were open from 9 until 3, and our visitors were mostly school groups who made the walk or took a bus downtown for the event. All of the classes from Trondheim International School came down, and it was fun to see my kids and their friends. Saturday we were open again for the public, and some kids returned with their parents for another go around. There were many exciting things to do: eat pancakes cooked with solar power, sit in a vehicle that goes 1000 km per liter of fuel (no lie), build electronic things, analyze your DNA, dig for skulls in a sandbox, play math games, build and test robots, and so on.

Saturday night, I should have been quite tired, but instead I felt energized, and we had a friend over for games and drinks. Awesome couple of days!

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