Photos of readers

Today’s entry (and the last in the queue—send yours in) comes from Peter Hoffman. His caption is indented:

Here’s a photo of me from Norway just around 2 years ago, driving up with friends to their mountain cabin. Since about 43 years ago I’ve made nordic ski racing a big part of my activities, sometimes over there as well. The statue is of Ole Einar Bjoernedalen, easily looked up as the best ever male biathlete.

That activity gets me out of my chair, where I try to do or understand mathematics and now largely (not doing!) theoretical physics. Ten years ago, I retired at 69 from teaching the former, at UWaterloo.

My wife and I have recently visited Iceland often, since that Eyjafjalla volcano trapped us in Dublin (pretty good place for that!) in 2010. Later we went in a Hurtigruten (same ship line as Jerry’s Antarctic trip) up to Spitzbergen, not much more than 1,000 km from the North Pole.

Anyway, no travel, but no end of stuff to do during the bad situation at present, especially on the bike as well as reading.

12 Comments

  1. Posted June 14, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Is there a significance to the location of the statue (birthplace or something)?

    • phoffman56
      Posted June 14, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, birthplace or at least a childhood home, in the country IIRC. But all I remember is it is along the obvious road from Drammen to Gol, I think much closer to Drammen. Definitely south, not north, in Norway.

  2. Bjørn Ove Sætre
    Posted June 14, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    How nice to se you visit Norway and Svalbard. Welcome to Norway

    • phoffman56
      Posted June 14, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Thanks.
      My wife lived for a time in Norway before I met her in England in 1965. So we have friends in Asker who treat us like we are welcome relatives. Especially in the last 30 or 40 years, we have visited often. They were both stuck in Dublin with us and also in Svalbard on that trip.

  3. merilee
    Posted June 14, 2020 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    You figured it out, Peter! Nice to see you in my ancestral home😁

  4. Posted June 15, 2020 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    That picture is so lovely. Also the clear blue sky is beautiful. I love reading your blogs, keep it up, keep posting more.

  5. dabertini
    Posted June 15, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Love this Dr.Hoffman. I am a graduate of UofW (kin 89)and a huge fan of xc skiing. I too can’t wait to retire and visit Norway and ski the Holmenkollen. I wonder if you were aware that Dr. Ian Anderson, chair of the Dept. of Kinesiology at UofW was also an expert xc skier and an avid telemark skier.

    • phoffman56
      Posted June 15, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Good to hear from you. I don’t recall us being acquainted, but your name definitely rings a bell with me. Perhaps you did university ski racing?

      But I think I started training a bit with the team for a while only in the 90’s when Don MacKinnon (maybe slightly wrong on the last name; he drove for Airways Transit) was coach at UWaterloo. Then several guys from Cape Breton were very fast. At 35 years older and a very mediocre talent, I was nowhere near their speed. But lots of races, e.g. at Hardwood and Duntroon, had all of us doing different categories in the same event.

      Maybe we raced a few times in the same event in the 80’s, though I did mostly CSM, Gatineau and Muskoka Loppet those years, not Masters (AKA old farts).

      I don’t think I knew that particular Ian Anderson. There is a math prof at Utah State, Logan, by that (common!) name who was a UW student of mine!

      Holmenkollen is great, and major historically, starting right from Nansen back about 1880. The only events over there I did were the (real!) Birkebeiner ending in Lillehammer, about 5 times. I’m hoping to return but only do the Halv-Birkebeiner; the last half ends with a really fast and fun 8km mostly downhill.

      Almost everywhere over there is great. Pretty sure from our friends’ house 20 km. south of Oslo, you could reserve a couple of nights’ B&Bs, ski north on groomed trails right up to almost Lillehammer, or at least Gjovik, with just a few road crossings. Similarly up near Trondheim and many other places. Nobody is required to pay; and nobody walks in the tracks and wrecks them or they’re risking severe reactions.

  6. Andrea Kenner
    Posted June 16, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Mr. Hoffman, I actually have a remote connection to the University of Waterloo. Many MANY years ago, I worked as a document processor for a company called STSC in Bethesda MD. We used a text markup language called Waterloo Script (or UWScript). As a generalized markup language (GML), I believe it was a precursor to many newer markup languages such as HTML and XML. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCRIPT_(markup)

    • phoffman56
      Posted June 16, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Hard even for me to believe, but I’ve been a pure math prof there for 54 years (just emeritus now). Back in ’66 they were already getting known outside in the practical side (never been big in theoretical relatively speaking). IIRC back then it was Watfor, a form of Fortran more for educational use perhaps. My interests outside the ‘Turing basics’ only got going somewhat after I began teaching logic around 2000.

      It is interesting to hear from you about these other aspects of our CS generated stuff. Both Maple, and also the software originating from a contract with the Oxford English Dictionary (name escapes me) came from CS in our Math Faculty. Possibly your stuff originated there, but also possibly more with our Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering. There seemed to be never any lack of money for that side of things. These days it’s quantum computing.

      • merilee
        Posted June 16, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        Seems I took a course in WATFIV (which, according to WIki, was WATFOR’s successor, but not a “5”, rather a roman numeral “4”.)

        • phoffman56
          Posted June 16, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

          Sounds or looks better than WATFORIV or WAT44, I suppose. Wat’s WATFOR for (one might ask)? The only thing worse than a mathematician’s pun is a computer nerd’s pun.

          I don’t recall a WATFIII or a WATFII.

          In Toronto undergrad days, I learned FORTRAN from the manual, working in the summer for the feds (Canada of course), and wrote what must be the world’s all time record most inefficient program, AKA: app, these days. Despite that, they still wanted me to be a practical mathematician. I preferred so-called abstract nonsense, and never changed my mind in 59 years.


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