Friday, June 7, 2019

A Day in Helsinki

Today we had our first whole day together in Helsinki. We did a LOT of walking downtown to take in the culture that urban Finland has to offer. We visited the natural history museum where the students had to think about the role of art in communicating scientific concepts. Unfortunately there were a ton of elementary school field trips there too, so we had to wade through small children in order to learn about the natural history of Finland.

After lunch, we went to Kiasma, the contemporary art museum to see a couple of exhibits in BioArt. My favorite of those was the work of Alma Heikkil√§, who depicts the coexistence of life forms at a microscopic scale. Two of her pieces depicted the community of organisms in soil (so of course I’m biased, being a soil biogeochemist).
Jose and Alex get close up with the painting representing lichens and fungi interacting with minerals in the soil.

Robin checks out the insects in decaying wood . This piece is rich with small detail that you don’t notice until you’re as close as Robin is.
The whole group checks out a naturally-lit representation of pollutants and microorganisms in our lungs

It is unusually hot in Helsinki for our arrival. It’s been over 80 degrees Fahrenheit!! There’s not a lot of air conditioning here, because it’s not a common need. So we have been sweaty today, but we’ve seen a lot. We even had some down time to explore the city before our group dinner where we introduced the students to some delicious Finnish foods: mackerel tartare and beef tongue.

Tomorrow we head back to the airport in the morning and fly north to the Arctic Circle!

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