Michael Karlesky

A cabinet of wonders. Minus the cabinet. And possibly the wonders.

Name heard nationwide. Had to leave the country.

I returned from two weeks in Munich and Berlin almost three weeks ago now. It was a great trip and included the best conference I've yet attended (either as a grad student or during my working years). I have so many photos and stories to share. But they will all have to wait as I am presently consumed with projects. I will, however, share my favorite highlight of the trip.

I arrived in Munich a few days before my conference in order to see a little bit of the city while I was also tackling schoolwork and related projects. On the second night there I found my way to Augustiner Bräustuben, a centuries old beer haus whose original monastery brewery is the oldest in Munich. The main beer hall is all brick and copper and wrought iron and large wood tables and benches for communal eating. Wedged in among the local patrons I had a plate of bratwurst, sauerkraut, and potatoes. Mind you, I don't actually care for sauerkraut. But, here in Germany, suddenly I really liked the stuff. I let the server pick the beer I would drink. I ended up with a mug of roughly the same volume as a child's backyard plastic swimming pool. It was good beer. I almost finished the whole thing. After my plate of dinner, I got busy doing more of the reading that will eventually feed into my dissertation work. As I read, a sneeze came upon me. I dutifully made use of my nearest elbow to sneeze into. Immediately thereafter a perfect stranger turned to me. And that was when I got to hear an actual German say to me in proper German a proper “Gesundheit!”

I will share further adventures at a later date. But allow me to leave you with a little something else. Just before my trip my advisor was on NPR's Science Friday radio program. She talked about me and one or two of my projects. I actually first learned of this not from her but from people who heard my name on the radio elsewhere in the country and promptly freaked out. In fact, I still have not taken the time to listen to the episode. But I'm told that it's quite good and that you can get a real sense for why I appreciate my advisor so much [listen to the show].