* There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing! – This Norwegian proverb very aptly reflects how straightforward Norwegians are in confronting the challenges presented by their country’s geographical position: it gives them long winter nights, sometimes extreme weather conditions and a breath-taking ice-age scenery. A look at their history shows that it was probably this kind of pragmatism that made it possible for the Norwegians to become one of the world’s richest countries due to their innovative achievements. As its economic success has always centred on seafaring, the country’s wealth of natural resources, technical and science training and research are of vital significance. An institution playing a leading role in these aspects is the traditional Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.
I first learned about the NTNU during my doctoral studies in mathematics at the University of Vienna when my successful application for the Yggdrasil grant of the Norwegian Research Council won me a semester in Trondheim. This stay was the beginning of an intense co-operation with the renowned research team of Helge Holden, one of the leading experts in the area of partial differential equations. From a scientific point of view returning to Trondheim seemed the obvious next step, and the FWF’s Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship finally made it possible. The focus of my research is on non-linear wave equations whose solutions are approximate descriptions of the way waves propagate in a canal or near a shoreline. This involves a phenomenon that particularly intrigues me: wave refraction. As soon as a wave breaks, energy is released, and the question raised is what happens to this energy. Depending on whether this energy is returned to the wave or taken away, different mathematical solutions arise for the connected equation.
Of course the scientific aspect predominated in my decision to return to Trondheim. But it was also the unique character of the town and the friendly and open inhabitants that made me want to go there again. The many colourful timber houses give the town a lively and warm atmosphere even on drab days, and the 20,000 students of the NTNU mark the social life of Trondheim and make it seem youthful despite the town’s venerable age (it was founded in 997 AD). The streets and bars around the historical warehouses and shipyards are full of young people, and one has no problem in finding some interesting leisure time activity among the numerous concerts, cultural festivals and a few of the more unusual events, such as the annual bathtub-race in the Nildelva river. More tranquillity reigns on the paths leading through the popular outdoor recreation areas along Trondheim fjord where people enjoy picnics, walks or sports activities.
All of this means I have never regretted my move to the north. And even if the weather has some room for improvement compared to Austria, I feel quite at home here by now. After all, it’s only a question of the appropriate clothing!