Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cool Science Locales: Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse

In a previous life, you're an electronics engineer who was rushed out to Grenoble, France to visit with ST Microelectronics.  Hopping off the plane in Lyon, you make the quick two hour drive southeast.  Realizing that you smell a bit funky after 8 hours on a plane, you drop into the local H&M, then pop into a pay toilet/changing room and pop out ready to engineer!   Six hours later, you finally emerge and start to look for places to stay, but to your  dismay, everywhere in Grenoble is fully booked.  You pull out your map and notice that there are mountains to the north.  Why not commute to one of the little towns up there?  You pull out the laptop and start calling hotels in each little town up the road until you finally find an available room in Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. The room is only $60 a night, the travel folks at the home office should be pleased!  It's dark already when you head out of town on the D512.  You wind your way through narrow mountain roads and finally arrive.  After a small meal at the cafe across the street, you pass out.  You awaken in a darkened room with a sunbeam peaking through closed curtains.  As you pull the curtains back, your greeted by a completely unexpected view.

Unbeknownst to you, you've driven to a gorgeous little town at the northern base of Chamechaude[4], the highest peak in the Chartreuse mountain range north of Grenoble.  Wondering about a bit before breakfast, you find a friendly little hillside town organized around a small square, with a chapel overlooking the whole affair.

Upon returning to ST Micro, you find that you'll have to stay another night, oh, the horror!  After the commute back up the mountain you find that the inn is full.  A short walk up the road nets a new room for a mere $38 at the local construction worker hotel with a clearly labeled attached bar!

Year's later, you'll find an article that helps with your quantum mechanics[1] homework and discover that Grenoble is not only the home ST Microelectronics, but also houses Grenoble Institute of Technology's Institute for Stationery and Graphics home of Dr. Bloch[3] who in addition to working in the latest in touch-screen like paper[2], also writes about fundamental quantum mechanics.

1.  Bloch on quantum wells
Bloch J.F. & Ignatovich V. (2001). A new approach to bound states in potential wells, American Journal of Physics, 69 (11) 1177. DOI:

2.  Bloch on touch-paper
Mazzeo A.D., Kalb W.B., Chan L., Killian M.G., Bloch J.F., Mazzeo B.A. & Whitesides G.M. (2012). Paper-based, capacitive touch pads., Advanced materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.), PMID:

3.  More on Dr. Bloch

4.  Chamechaude

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