RWTH Alumni Meeting in Chicago: Scientific Companies, Museums and Hofbräu Haus

Group of alumni Copyright: Daniel Schimmel

The 2017 North American RWTH Alumni meeting took place in Chicago, Illinois on June 16 and June 17, 2017. This year's hosts were Christopher Contag and Daniel Schimmel, who both live and work in Chicago. Nineteen alumni, alumni family, and even Rüdiger's who has close ties to Aachen joined in the meeting.

  Group in hall with machines Copyright: Daniel Schimmel

On Friday morning the group visited Fermilab. This is a scientific facility where particle accelerators are manufactured and used to perform fixed target neutrino experiments. The on-site particle accelerator ring is decommissioned, but scientists monitor and conduct experiments around the world, e.g. CERN close to Geneva and DESY close to Hamburg. In total, 1700 people work at Fermilab. Half of them are scientists from all over the world. We toured Wilson hall, which is a 15-story high-rise and across from that they showed us the impressive neutrino generator. Our tour operators even setup a German PhD student in mechanical engineering to guide the group through the manufacturing facilities. Cryogenic particle accelerator tubes are surrounded by magnets and cooled by two Kelvin liquid Helium, which is designed and manufactured on site.

In the afternoon, the group visited the software company Gamma Technologies LLC in Westmont, a suburb outside of Chicago. Three topics were presented. Since most participants have lived in the US for a long time, updates from Aachen are always welcome. Hermann-Viktor Johnen provided an update on the Aachen cathedral renovations and discussed his activities in rebuilding a Mies van der Rohe villa in Gubin, on the Polish and German border. Christopher introduced the software company and showed how mechanical engineers use simulation software to design vehicles. The day ended with a dinner at the Chicago Hofbräu Haus.

On Saturday morning the group visited the Museum of Science and Industry. The highlight of the visit was a tour through the American-captured German submarine. It was captured during WWII and towed first to the Bahamas from the coast of Africa. After a dim sum lunch in Chinatown, the group toured Illinois Institute of Technologies (IIT) campus. The guided two-hour walking tour provided insights into Mies van der Rohes' life and work at IIT. Due to very hot and humid conditions outside, the short stints inside air conditioned buildings were more than appreciated. The day ended with traditional Chicago-style deep dish pizza at a Chicago staple, Lou Malnati's. That evening was also Rainer's 80th birthday, who celebrated with ice cream and cake topped with a candle. Everybody enjoyed the time in Chicago and is looking forward to the 2018 Alumni meeting. Time and location TBD.

Special thanks goes to Uwe, Rüdiger und Hermann-Viktor, who provided transportation for the group in addition to Christopher and Daniel.

Please find all the information about North American RWTH Alumni activities here. If you are interested in getting updates please register here.