Well, so who is this Stefan guy? Hm, I guess that is a hard question and the answer involves some of the following: complete ignorance of soccer (at least I pretend to be so), an wide knowledge of wikipedia-trivia, a love for cycling and physics and being an atypical German -- not liking beer, neither driving a Mercedes nor Volkswagen, BMW or Porsche and -- most important for my Dutch friends -- not stealing bicycles. Waar is mijn fiets? Sorry guys, I don't have it. But maybe you can help me finding mine.
So for a start, let's do some geography. I was born and grew up in Friedrichshafen, Germany a small city on the banks of Lake of Constance (Bodensee). If you imagine a map of Europe, it's where Germany, Austria and Switzerland meet or roughly 100 km from Zurich, about 200 km from Stuttgart and Munich -- or more roughly speaking, it's halfway between Hamburg and Rome. In any case, it is one of the most beautiful places to live, especially in summer -- swimming in the lake, nothing can be better. Well, the only drawback of Friedrichshafen is, that is not exactly known for its vivid nightlife and culture. Well, but it was definately a good enough place to spend my first 21 years.
I have always been very curious, having a very long and pronounced "Why?"-phase. As a small child, I tested several times the laws of gravity by throwing myself from shopping carts and the like (or so my mother reports). As I grew older, I tested out several fields of science and engineering -- civil engineering (building sandcastles and dams in a nearby river), aerospace engineering (building boomerangs and testing them in the neighbourhood -- I guess our neighbour had nightmares about it for the rest of his life), mechanical engineering (building a soap box racer -- luckily I could hire my younger brother as "test pilot") before finally finding out that science is just more fun than mere engineering. In any case, starting from 11th grade I was a member of my school's chemistry team, taking part in the International Chemistry Olympics, reaching the third of four national levels. Well, but soon I found out that a) I actually liked the Physics part of Chemistry more than the Chemistry part and that b) that my presence usually influenced any outcome of an experiment in a negative way (Pauli effect). So it was clear, that the only option remaining in the field of science was that of a theoretical physicist. In any case, I started to study Physics at the University of Konstanz, where I studied -- with exception of the academic year 2003/2004, which I spent at the University of Western Ontario as a participant in the ONT/BW student exchange -- until January 2007. After having had not enough adventures in terms of Physics and living in foreign countries, I started my PhD at the Delft University of Technology in June 2007.
I am a somewhat verocious reader. I basically read all the time -- books, or if I haven't one at hand, newspapers, useless wikipedia articles, magazines, you name it. In any case, my all-time favourite author is Douglas Adams -- not only because his books give valuable advise on how to see the marvels of the galaxy for little money, but also for his totally dry sense of humor. Not only his Hitchhiker's books (there are five, 'cause it's a trilogy) are worth reading, but also the less well-known Dirk Gently novels and his non-fiction book "Last Chance to See". A close second in the list of favourite authors is Nick Hornby. Especially I like his novel "High Fidelity", which is probably my all-time most favourite novel. As a number three of favourite authors, I'd name Bill Bryson -- who's mostly doing travel writing.
To stay in the field of literature: According to the Rob Fleming character in Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity" you are not a proper human if you own less than 500 records. Hm, although I have been acquiring quite a lot of CDs lately I miss this number by quite a margin. Plus, quite a large proportion of those CDs fall into the category Jazz, which is according to said character from "High Fidelity" not proper music. In any case, here's my all-time top five albums I'll take with me, in case I ever have to relocate to a desert island:
- Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsies
- Marcus Miller - Silver Rain
- John Lee Hooker - Chill Out
- Stevie Wonder - Songs in the key of Life (or any other of his albums from the 70s)
- Björk - Debut (or Post or Homogenic, I simply cannot make up my mind here, either)