Tuesday, August 25, 2009


At the beginning of the summer vacation, I went to the meeting of the International Commission of the History of Science and Technology, which was in Budapest this year. I stayed in a small hotel across the Danube from the meeting. The venue was a technical university that faced the river from the Buda side. You can see the university in the picture below.

The conference was the biggest international meeting for historians of science. There were a fair number of talks that I wanted to hear but, because they were running ten or so multiple sessions, I wasn't able to see all of them. It was good to see some of my old teachers and colleagues who I haven't seen for a while and to meet, for the first time, colleagues whose scholarship I've been reading for years

In between sessions, and during a few dead periods, I was able to get out and explore the city. Budapest is both splendid and squalled at the same time. Here you see the parliament building, which is on the Pest side, from the turrets of an old fortress on the Buda side.

Budapest was once the two cities of Buda and Pest, separated by the massive Danube and from time to time making war on one another.

It's hard to get a sense from these pictures of just how huge the Danube is. In Budapest, the river is spanned by numerous bridges.

One of the most prevalent features of central part of the city are the 19th century apartment buildings.

Here's one that looks like it's from the early 20th century.

Years of communist rule, however, have taken their toll and many neighbourhoods are impoverished and the buildings in a state of disrepair.

With the new influx of borrowed money, there is construction going on at slow pace everywhere throughout the city. Here's a typical street that they've ripped up and don't seem to be in any hurry to refinish.

The Hungarians are famous for being a mathematical nation. I took this button panel in the elevator of my hotel as evidence of the mathematical disposition of even the average Hungarian.

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