My Per­fect Day

Most of us can’t even begin to com­pre­hend the depth of the uni­verse, but for Noam Libe­skind, such thoughts are an ev­ery­day mat­ter. A cos­mol­ogy re­searcher at the Leib­niz In­sti­tute for As­tro­physics in Pots­dam, Libe­skind has ex­per­tise that extends be­yond dar

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS - Noam Libe­skind

Meet a cos­mol­ogy re­searcher whose ex­per­tise extends be­yond black holes, in­clud­ing Ber­lin his­tory and food.

How would you ex­plain your work to an ab­so­lute lay­man?

Ev­ery­one looks up at the night sky and won­ders at the sheer scale of the heav­ens, from the In­cas to mod­ern so­ci­ety. In as­tron­omy and cos­mol­ogy we try to make sense of the fire­works that are go­ing on in the night sky, piece by piece try­ing to put to­gether the puz­zle of how the uni­verse formed gal­ax­ies, stars and so­lar sys­tems like our own.

What area of Ber­lin do you call home, and what drew you to it?

I live in Char­lot­ten­burg. I didn’t have much choice since it’s where I spent much of my child­hood. It’s poor when it comes to bars and clubs but rich with cafés and restau­rants.

As a long-term Ber­liner, what changes in the city are the most strik­ing to you?

Cer­tainly the trans­for­ma­tion of Kreuzberg and the East. For­mer no-go ar­eas are now hot des­ti­na­tions. Be­fore the Wall fell, places like Kreuzberg and Neukölln were rough, now they are hip. East Ber­lin had just emerged from decades of com­mu­nist rule but now Mitte and Pren­zlauer Berg are wealthy, col­or­ful, and even cor­po­rate.

What would you do in the city if you had a com­plete day off?

I would prob­a­bly start off with a cof­fee in my neigh­bor­hood at one of the cafés on Stuttgarter Platz. The bike in­fra­struc­ture is great here, so I would prob­a­bly then bike to Tier­garten, mak­ing a stop at Café am Neuen See for a pizza or Kristall­weizen beer. Af­ter that I would round up the day by go­ing to Kreuzberg and shop­ping or eat­ing at Mark­thalle Neun or some­where in the Wrangelkiez neigh­bor­hood.

When you have friends vis­it­ing, where do you take them?

Usu­ally I try to give them a taste for the rich his­tory of Ber­lin, from pre-war iconic land­marks like the Bran­den­burg Gate and the KaDeWe, the painful his­tory of Nazism and the Holo­caust (the Jewish Mu­seum or the book burning me­mo­rial on Be­belplatz), up through the Cold War and Ber­lin Wall era. Places like Gen­dar­men­markt can be great re­minders of how th­ese three epochs can in­ter­sect. One can feel Ger­man En­light­en­ment, World War II, the Holo­caust, and East Ger­man city plan­ning all in one small square. I usu­ally try and take guests some­where off the beaten track, like the Soviet war me­mo­rial in Trep­tower Park or the for­mer NSA lis­ten­ing post at Teufels­berg.

Could you share a spe­cial lit­tle spot in the Kiez where you live?

My neigh­bor­hood has the best Ital­ian deli, Salume­ria da Pino ( Wind­schei­d­str. 20), this side of the Alps. Pino is a great cook and the deli acts as both a store and a kind of restau­rant. The polpo salad, tagli­olinial­tartufo and tiramisu are di­vine. Their wine se­lec­tion is also pretty fan­tas­tic.

Ber­lin’s most un­der­rated place?

It has got to be Tegel Air­port. It’s small, ef­fi­cient, and some­thing has to be said for an air­port where the checkin, se­cu­rity, im­mi­gra­tion and gates are all within 2 min­utes of each other.

Tegel air­port

Noam Libe­skind

[ As­tro­physi­cist]

Mark­thalle Neun



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