Monday, June 7, 2010

Things to Do in Denver When You're a Postdoc

Now let me tell you more about my work here. I am working as a postdoc at the University of Colorado Denver. Actually, my job title is not postdoc - it's Assistant Research Professor. Doesn't that sound fancy?
As Assistant Research Professor I have to perform quantum mechanic and molecular mechanic simulations on an ion channel. Before, I can run these simulations I have to write the computer program for it. And that is what kept me busy the last weeks. I have changed from physics to chemistry. Don't think that I am a brainiac because of this. I also performed quantum mechanics and molecular mechanics simulations before I changed. So, it is more or less a change of the name. In fact, I know a lot of people changing from physics to chemistry and vise verse (hi Astrid).
My office is a big shared office. But, I am the only one working here. One can say that I have changed from the small office in Bremen, which I shared with 3 other colleges, to my own very big office here. The office is located in the basement in a restricted area. No windows, no wireless phone reception, and the next phone is at least 100 feet - sorry -30 meter away. So one can also say that I am kept down here.
Hmm? - a computer programmer who works in an office without any windows - I have to get out and get some skin color - that's #1 priority now. The best way to get some sun is to ride with bike to work. Everybody was telling me that in the US nobody is riding a bike before I came here. And the image of bike riders in US movies (Burn after reading, 40 year old virgin, ...) isn't the best either. But, there are a lot of people riding bikes here. They have here special bike lanes. People here are telling me that Denver is an exception. And for the rest of the US it is true that people don't use a bike. Anyhow, it is surprising for me to see how people ride a bike. A traffic light is nothing mandatory for bikers here - at least they don't care.
Beside bikes, people here are using cars. Streets are full of SUVs and cars bigger than SUVs. But a lot of people are also driving a hybrid car from a Japanese manufacturer. In Germany people don't drive that car. I think not because they don't like hybrid cars but they don't like Japanese cars.
For me it is time to get my Colorado driver license. Wish me good look.

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