Lithuania (2008)I went in September (2008) to Vilnius to attend the 12th International Conference on Quantum Optics and Quantum Information. As usual, I brought my camera with me and took a number of photos. I would like share some of them with you.
- Vilnius, City of Harmony
consisting of communist statues, capitalist skyscrapers, and
- This Stalin-style Tower tells Lithuania had a Soviet-dominated communist past.
- Socialist Housing Complex. These buildings were presumably built after 1990, but it is very difficult to build individual houses.
- Capitalistic Hotels and Office Buildings. Lithuanians are very busy in constructing their capitalism. Where do they get all the money?
- Shopping Mall in the new capitalistic region of Vilnius.
- Gift Shop in this shopping mall.
- City of Churches. A church
- Pope John-Paul II visited this city in 1995. I like him and I respect him.
- Church Service. Lithuanians believe in Jesus rigorously.
- Russian Orthodox Church. There are still many Russians in Lithuania. They also believe in Jesus.
- Greek Orthodox Church. If there enough Catholic churches, there are some orthodox churches.
- Jewish Synagogue and the plate explaining its history. Since I have many Jewish friends and colleagues, I visit Jewish communities wherever I go. I was particularly interested in the Lithuanian Jewish community because many talented Jewish scholars and artists came from this area. Indeed, there were in the past more than 100 synagogues in Vilnius, perhaps as many as Catholic churches. However, there is only one remaining. I dropped in one of the Jewish community centers and started talking to the attendant. He was old and could not speak English. When I asked him to have a photo with me, he declined. Instead, he offered to take this photo for me.
- Mothers with their babies.
Vilnius is a city with life.
- Children's Playground near
a residential apartment complex.
- Children's Bicycle Race on the City Hall square.
- Rock Concert for Children in front of the City Hall.
- High School Students going home after school.
- Art Exhibition at the city-center square of Vilnius. This event is for all ages.
- Children's Playground near a residential apartment complex.
- Lithuanian Student going home
after working during the summer in South Carolina (U.S.A.).
This photo was taken at Warsaw's Frederic Chopin Airport (September 2008).
- Music Students at the Conservatory of Music in Vilnius (Lithuania). They seem to believe in music.
- Students taking a rest at a fountain. They all speak fluent English.
- Lithuanian Student taking opinion polls from visitors from different countries. She was very happy with my answers to her questions, and leaned toward me when this photo was taken.
- Gintaras is the Lithuanian
word for amber. This is one of the amber shops in the Gintaras district
of Vilnius. The Baltic Coast is the amber capital of the world, and Lithuanians
makes money by exporting their amber products and by selling directly to
- In this Gintaras store, these ladies are very happy with me because I spent $160 at their store.
- Lithuanian Restaurant in the Gintaras district, with traditional menu.
- Potato Dish. Potato is the staple for the Baltic area, as rice is for Asian countries. Thus, Lithuanians developed the art of making potato dishes beautiful and tasteful.
- Lithuanian Pears are stretched.
- Samsung. I was very happy to see this sign even in Vilnius. When I left Korea in 1954, Samsung was an obscure candy company. As far as electronics is concerned, Korea barely started making soldering irons. I was very happy to use a Korean-made soldering iron then.
- Sam Treiman was
born in Chicago, but his parents came from Lithuania. He did his
undergraduate work at Northwestern University, and the graduate
study at the University of Chicago. Enrico Fermi was his advisor.
Sam Treiman was a very important person to me. He was my thesis advisor at Princeton University. I got my degree in 1961. Four years before, in 1957, a brilliant man named Steven Weinberg got his PhD degree under his supervision. This is a photo of Weinberg and Treiman taken in 1985.
When my son went to Princeton as a freshman in 1983, Treiman was the chairman of the department. He helped my son in many ways. Here is a photo of my family with the Treimans taken in 1987 at the graduation reception.
You will see that Treiman was a very sharp-looking person. When I went to Princeton in 1958, many people told me to work for John A. Wheeler, but I decided to work for Sam Treiman because he was so handsome and precise.
Among the many advantages of having Sam Treiman as the advisor, I was forced to read Steven Weinberg's thesis before writing mine. Weinberg was not famous at that time. I used this training to read the papers Weinberg wrote on the Lorentz group in the early 1960s, and to continue my own program on the same subject. I did enough work to tell the stories Wigner liked to hear in 1985.
The issue was whether Maxwell's equations are consistent with Wigner's little groups which dictate internal space-time symmetries of elementary particles. Hermann Minkowski was interested in whether the Maxwell equations are consistent with Lorentz, not Galilei, transformations.
- Click here for Hermann Minkowski.
Photos from Riga (June 2010)
- Panoramic View of Riga.
room. Riga is an old city. I took this photo from my hotel room on the
15th floor of the Raddison Blue hotel.
- Suspension Bridge across the Daugava River, which runs through the center of the city, and which connects to the Baltic Sea. Another Bridge, Traditional and old-fashioned.
- New Buildings. This is one of the bank buildings on Riga's coast line. Many cranes are seen in the background indicating future capitalist buildings.
- Street Buses and Communist-era Buildings.
- Statue of Liberty. Latvia is a small country, and has been invaded and liberated a number of times throughout her history. Latvians had reasons to celebrate whenever they became liberated. There are a number of statues like this in Riga.
- Major Transportation Hub.
Riga grew as a major harbor for the Baltic Sea. Even these days, giant
ocean liners can come to the city through the Daugava channel. This river is
like New York's
- One of the Old-town Taverns tells about Riga's maritime past. Old-time dining/drinking table.
- Old Warehouses for maritime trades. These buildings are now used as market places.
- Radisson Blu is one of the high-rise modern hotels hosting travellers from the world. The domes of Riga's Russian Orthodox Church are seen in this photo.
- Taxi Cabs ready to carry passengers to Riga's expanded international airport.
- The airBaltic has its hub in Riga. I was talking with these two airBaltic ladies in the lobby of the Radisson Blu Hotel. They said their airline is affiliated with the SACS Scandinavian Airlines.
- Briefed about Riga. While
waiting for a fight from Warsaw to Riga, I was talking with this Latvian
economist. She gave me a brief history lesson about her country.
- Latvian Professionals I met in Cannes, France. They came here from Riga for vacation (June 2006). They have been to the United States, and seem to have a bright future in their country.
- Another Latvian Professional I met at Warsaw's Frederic Chopin Airport in 2008. She claimed that Latvian women are most beautiful in the world. I then asked her whether I can have a photo with her, and she cheerfully agreed. At that time, I was going to Vilnius (Lithuania). She told me I should visit her country also, and I did in 2010.
- American Lady from Chicago. She was born and raised in Riga, but she now lives in Chicago. I was talking with this American lady on the airport bus. She was going back to her home after seeing her relatives in Riga. She was very happy.
- Riga's Opera House. Like
all European cities, the opera house is at the center of the city. There is
a beautiful city park in front of this center of musical art.
- Opera House seen from the Park.
- This Park is clean and serves as an important recreational resource for the people of Riga.
- Flower Garden.
- Mother with her Son adds beauty to the park.
- Sculpture and Pond in front of the Opera House.
- Statue of Well-to-do Citizens in front of the Opera House. Latvians also worship good life.
- Statue of Three Happy Women.
- Statue of Adam and Eve, and Two Young People trying to reproduce this Adam/Eve statue.
- Russian Orthodox Church.
built during the 19th century while Riga was under influence of the Romanov Empire.
Russians left after their 1917 revolution, but Soviets came back after World War II.
Russians constitute about 49 percent of the Latvian population. Many of those
Russians became naturalized to Latvian citizens, but there are still many who are
proud to be Russians.
- Domes of this Church seen with the high-rise Radisson Blu Hotel.
- Russian Item shown in the show window of a Russian gift shop.
- This Russian lady owns her amber shop in Riga. She is very proud of her Russian heritage, and she speaks only Russian and refuses to speak any other language. I cannot speak Russian too well, but managed to communicate with her. She was very happy with me because I bought some items from her.
- Young Russian Professor very proud to be a Russian while living in Riga. I met her at Washington's Dulles International Airport in 2004.
- American Influence.
This photograph of Marilyn Monroe can be seen at many show windows.
- New Yorker. They seem to love New York.
- In one of the McDonald's.
You can meet Young Students at the McDonald's Another Set of students.
- Fridays Restaurant is
another American institution.
- Henry Ford in one of the bank show windows. They do not seem to know Ford never trusted bankers. Here is Benjamin Franklin. They seem to like American 100-dollar bills.
- Ford Cars for Riga taxi cabs. They were assembled in the Russian Baltic city of Kaliningrad. Other popular cars are also assembled there for Russian consumers, but Ford seems to be something to Latvians. Do you know where Kaliningrad is? Click here.
- American Companies doing
business in Riga.
- Pizza House. Italians Invented pizza, but pizza houses are popular worldwide because there are many of them in the United States.
- Sushi is traditional Japanese food, but it is becoming very popular in the United States. Latvians seem to follow this American trend.
- Riga as a Museum of Architecture.
- Old Town Buildings.
- Wooden Buildings. Vikings developed the technology of putting wooden pieces together to build ships. The result had to be water-tight. Latvians extended this technology to build wind-tight houses. There are many wooden buildings like this in Riga.
- New National Library being built.
- Samsung Building and Old Churches.
- More Church Buildings.
- Town Center Buildings look like Dutch buildings.
- This Building seems to have its own unique style.
- Communist-era Buildings. There are many of these box-like buildings.
- These Buildings look like toy-land houses.
- One of the Bank Buildings. Latvian seem to be in love with capitalism.
- Animal-shaped Building. Latvians are looking for a new direction in their architecture. In front of this building is an American-style restaurant called "No Problems." Here is the restaurant webpage. I dined there and took this photo of two servers picking up the trays to be delivered to the tables.
- Mikhail Eisenstein was
a very prominent architect in Riga. Most of the traditional buildings were
influenced by him. There are still six buildings originally designed by him.
Let us see some of those buildings.
- One of the Buildings designed by Mikhail Eisenstein.
- Another Building by him.
- This Eisenstein Building is now used as the Hungarian Embassy.
- French Embassy Building was not designed by Eisenstein but it carries his influence.
- Even Communist-era Buildings were influenced by Eisenstein.
- Sergei Eisenstein was his son, and was a creative Soviet film maker.
|Impressed? Come to me!|
|In reality, the second photo was taken first. This is how I can make a story by re-arranging photos.|
I went to Riga in order to study Eisenstein's background. Who is he?
Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) was a Soviet-era film maker. To Russians, he is known as the producer of the "The Battleship Potomkin." In the rest of the world, he is the producer of the first two volumes of the "Ivan the Terrible."
We would normally expect that someone writes a movie story first. Then actors perform and cameraman shoots. Eisenstein had a different idea. Shoot the camera first, and then compose the story using those pictures. This is the reason why Ivan the Terrible appears as two completely different characters in the two volumes. What does this have to do with me? Webpages!
Since 1959, I have been taking many photos. They were not too useful. However, since 2001, I started making webpages. To make a webpage, we have to choose a set of photos, place them in proper order, and then write in stories. This is how I make my webpages. I do not know how else one can produce the pages. This is precisely what I learned from Eisenstein.
Let us see how Eisensteinism works. I took these two photos in 2002. The second photo was taken first at a different place. But the combination of the two makes a perfect story. The web stories do not have have to tell lies. I enjoy more when I tell true stories. Here are some webpages constructed from my old photos.
- Princeton Photos I collected since 1961.
- Cameras I owned since 1959. Viewers seem to enjoy the stories I filled in between the camera photos.
- Tanks since 1935. I was able to express my views on technology versus bureaucracy.
If you think my webpages are trying to tell you something, it is because of the lesson I learned from Sergei Eisenstein.
Eisenstein's Background in Riga
- This architect of course had his reasons to bring many things from
different places. However, his design forces us to think beyond what
we see. The architect was Sergei Eisenstein's father.
Very definitely, Sergei was strongly influenced by his father. He looks at the photos he has taken, and then thinks carefully about what idea he could produce from those photos. This is what Eisenstein's creativity is all about.
Let us translate this into your issue. You have published many papers in the past. Look at them again, and try to construct a new idea from them.
Eisensteinism does not end here. Humans from their beginning had a habit of looking at the stars during the night and made attempts to make sense out of them. We still carry this habit of watching the sky. We do cosmology, black holes, dark matter, gravitational waves, and many more to come.
Click here for an article about STEP 2.
- By 1500 AD, humans observed that some of those heavenly objects follow
elliptic or hyperbolic trajectories. Isaac Newton then wrote down a
second-order differential equation for both.
In quantum mechanics, this translates into running waves and standing waves. Here again, Erwin Schroedinger's second-order differential equation takes care of this problem. The question then is how to deal with this problem in Einstein's Lorentz-covariant world. Click here for further discussion.
- As for the geometry of ellipse and hyperbola, ancient Greeks came up
with the using a circular cone. This cone contains both ellipse and hyperbola.
When I was 15 years old, I learned that the equation
A x 2 + B y2 = Constant
can produce both ellipse and hyperbola, and is as good at the circular cone used by those Greeks.
If this equation looks too childish to you, you can consider a two-by-two unimodular matrix with real elements. It has three independent parameters, but it can be brought to an equi-diagonal form by a rotation. Then the matrix has two independent parameters and takes one of the following three forms.
The first matrix is a squeezed rotation matrix, and is therefore for an elliptic orbit. The second matrix is for a hyperbolic orbit. The third is for a linear orbit. If we construct a four-by-four matrix, it will be quadratic in the parameter, and thus represent a parabolic orbit.
The question then is whether these three matrices can be combined into one analytic matrix. The answer is Yes. We can use the mathematical technique called the Bargmann decomposition to combine all three of the above matrices into one expression, given as
What I said above is strictly about mathematical aspect of two-by-two matrices. However, it is applicable to at least two important branches of modern physics.
- Optics (both quantum and classical) is largely a
physics of two-by-two matrices (or ABCD matrices) and
Click here for two-by-two matrices in optics.
- In 1939, Eugene Wigner published his paper on the
little groups which dictate the internal space-time
symmetries of particles in the Lorentz-covariant
world. The three equi-diagonal matrices given above
serve as the basis for Wigner's little group.
Wigner always wanted to translate his 1939 paper into the language of two-by-two matrices. It appears that Wigner's little groups emerge from this simple mathematical property of the two-by-two matrix.
- There are many other branches of physics I am not competent to speak about. However, solutions are possible only if the problems are brought into the form of harmonic oscillators or/and two-by-two matrices, since otherwise they cannot be solved.
I made the above conclusion by looking at the many of my past papers, as Sergei Eisenstein constructed new stories based on the photos he took. Many people complain that my papers contain only two-by-two matrices, ellipses, and hyperbolas. But they cannot complain about what I said above.
- Optics (both quantum and classical) is largely a physics of two-by-two matrices (or ABCD matrices) and Fourier transformations. Click here for two-by-two matrices in optics.
- So far, we have been treating ellipse and hyperbola as different curves.
I am not satisfied with this observation. I am interested in whether the
hyperbola and ellipse are the same thing. For this purpose, let us write
another baby formula, namely
x2 - y2 = (x + y) (x - y) .
If (x2 - y2) remains constant as in the case of hyperbola, (x - y) should become smaller as (x + y) becomes large. This means that there is an ellipse for each point on the hyperbolic trajectory.
In 1962, I had an audience with Paul A. M. Dirac. He told me to study the contents of Lorentz covariance. Since Dirac told me so, I had to read his papers. His papers are like poems, but they do not contain figures. Thus, I decided to translate his poems into one picture. On this project, I have been working with Marilyn Noz since 1973. You may click here for our latest paper on this subject.
I already talked too much about myself. I could talk more, but I should stop here. I took many photos while in Riga. I have placed some of them on this webpage, and will place more when I have time. Let us look at those photos.
If anyone has a distinctive new idea, it is usually a product of his/her childhood environment. For instance, Kant's philosophy was based on the geographical condition of Koenigsberg (now Kaliningrad) where Kant spent 80 years of his entire life. Here is my webpage dedicated to this subject.
Eisenstein could not be an exception. In order to find out what environment he had during his early years, I went in June of 2010 to Riga (Latvia) where he was born and raised. While talking with Latvians there, I learned that his father came from Saint Petersburg and became a very prominent architect. There are still some beautiful buildings designed by him. Great! I went to those buildings and could see immediately how Eisenstein became so creative.
To make a long story short, let us look at one of those buildings designed by his father.
- I went there to attend a conference held in their capital city of Tallinn.
I was very happy to see some of my old friends there. However, the conference
was held at a former Soviet military base about 10km from the town center.
Here is a photo of the conference site.
By 1990, Russians knew that the Baltic Republics of the Soviet Union are going
to be independent, and then started withdrawing their troops from Estonia.
- There is a scenic high way
from the city center to this base. On the left side is the Baltic Ocean,
and there is a memorial on the right side.
- This is the remaining wall
of the building which once served as a convent. This tells bitter
battles took place in this area throughout the history.
- While coming back to the town, I could see the
with a huge cruise ship.
- Here is a photo of the harbor from Wikipedia.
- There is a scenic high way from the city center to this base. On the left side is the Baltic Ocean, and there is a memorial on the right side.
- Tallinn's Town Hall Square is
an open area where many activities take place.
- This area is like this during
the Christmas season. This photo is from Wikipedia's public domain.
- You can meet interesting people at this square.
- The shops there are set up daily, and
are withdrawn in the late afternoon.
- This is a a photo of the square in 1990.
- This is a a photo of the square in 2015.
- This area is like this during the Christmas season. This photo is from Wikipedia's public domain.
- There are many interesting areas around this square.
- The Old Hansa musicians perform on the street.
- They are bare-footed, presumably in the Vikings
- In this area, there are many gift shops such as a
crystal shop , and an amber shop.
- Estonians seem to be fun-loving people. This group of people enjoying their parade. It is not a Christian-style festival. Then it must from the Vikings tradition. In any case, I decided to join them and have a photo with them.
- The street leading from the Town Hall Square to New Town is interesting.
- There are many shops and eating places along the street. This is a row of shops, with step roofs.
- These shop are flower shops like these.
- At the end of the Old Town, there is Viru Gate. This is how the
New Town looks from the Old Town. This is how the
Old Town appears in the opposite direction.
- Tallinn was developed as a heavily fortified city. The Old Town was defended with heavily fortification like this, and like this.
- There is a wide boulevard which by-passes both old and new towns. Estonians
are art-loving people. This is a theater
for performing dramas.
huge building complex is for concerts and operas/ballets. This
is the back of this building facing
- The new-town or downtown consists of both new and old buildings. Presumably those old buildings were constructed during the Soviet era.
- There is at least one Stalin-style building
- This ultra-modern building is
for a Lutheran church. German influence is there.
- At one of the back streets, there are portraits of many Hollywood
celebrities, including a photo of Marilyn Monroe
and that of Audrey Hepburn.
- There are also museums. Here, two Estonian ladies are bragging about an old instrument in their museum.
- These two ladies are inviting to their museum showing
torture instruments used during the Medieval
- There are many interesting people in this area. In Tallinn, there are young people who were born in Estonia, but their parents are Russians. They identify themselves as Russians. I met these students who were born in Estonia, but they regard themselves as Russians. I always enjoy talking with students wherever I go.
- This huge building complex is for concerts and operas/ballets. This is the back of this building facing the boulevard.
- There are many churches. Most of them are of course Russian orthodox
- This is one of the churches near the Old Town. It is
Saint Nicolas's Church with a tall bell tower. The Wikipedia also
has a photo of this church. Let us see
the Wikipedia version.
- The most prominent cathedral is
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral located at a high ground in the Old Town.
This church was built while Estonia was a province of the old Russian Empire.
Nevsky is a very important person in Russian Empire. The question is whether
Estonians like him or not. Most of them do not, but the building is of
historical importance, and it costs too much money to demolish it. It is still
- This is a front view of the Cathedral (photo taken in 2015).
- An oblique view of the church.
- A photo taken in 1990.
- Viewed from the narrow road leading to the
hill. On the right is a thick fortification built to protect the town.
- Inside the Cathedral building is like other orthodox churches.
- The ceiling of the building is designed to import sunlight from the sky.
- The image of Jesus is
above the front entrance of the building.
- There is an open space front of the Cathedral building, and the building on the opposite side is a style-less administration building.
- This is one of the churches near the Old Town. It is Saint Nicolas's Church with a tall bell tower. The Wikipedia also has a photo of this church. Let us see the Wikipedia version.
- There are many towers in Tallinn. Presumably, they were built as church bell
towers. Two of these towers are quite tall and can be seen from many
different areas of the city.
- I took a photo of this tower when I went to Tallinn in 1990. Another photo talen in 1990.
- This is a photo of the same tower which appeared in the Wikipedia. This photo was produced in 2012.
- From these two photos, we can see how much progress Tallinn made
during the period 1990-2012, as shown in the following figure.
- This tower (I do not know its name) is tall enough to be seen from everywhere in Tallinn
- from the Town Hall Square.
- during the Christmas season.
- from the high ground of of the Nevsky Cathedral.
- from a narrow street.
- from the outside of the Viru Gate.
- There is another prominent tower in Tallinn. According to Wikipedia, this tower is the bell tower of St. Olaf's Church. It was the tallest structure in the world when it was built in 1549 and remained so until 1625. This tower can be seen from many places in Tallinn.
Finland was started by a Mongolian tribe called "Hun." How did
they get there? During the 5th century, horse-riding Mongolians
came to Europe causing many Western tribes to move around. Those
Mongolians eventually went back, but some of them got trapped in
the West. Those trapped Mongolians started a country known
today as Finland. Since then, the Finnish people became thoroughly
Westernized, and it is not possible to find Mongolian traces in
their appearances. However, their language is quite different
from those of their Western neighbors. For instance, instead of
saying "I go to school," they say "I school go-to."
Finland had long been dominated by its powerful neighbor known as Sweden, like Korea dominated by China. After becoming strong around 1800 AD, Russia pushed away Sweden and occupied Finland, as Japan did to Korea. After the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917, Finland became an independent nation.
- Swedish Lutheran Church in
Helsinki telling the Swedish influence was and still
is strong in Finland.
- Russian Orthodox Church dedicated to Catherine the Great of Russia. Not many people are attending this church, but it tells that Finland was once occupied by Russia.
- Marshall Mannerheim's Statue
is in the park front of the Congress building.
- Photo with Finnish Students. Marshall Mennerheim's statue is seen in the background. These student speak English like American students, and they are very optimistic about the future of their country.
Thanks to Paavo Nurmi, who won nine Olympic gold medals in short and medium distance runnings, this new country was given the privilege of hosting the 1940 Olympic games, after the Berlin event in 1936. But the 1940 Olympic meeting was cancelled, and Finland hosted the Olympic games in 1952.
- Paavo Nurmi's Statue at
the entrance to Helsinki's Olympic Park.
- Olympic Tower at the
Olympic Park. You can go to the top of this tower by an elevator
and take photos.
- Olympic Stadium and many all of those sports facilities are still in excellent shape. They were built for the 1952 Olympic games.
Jan Sibelius (1865-1957) was a Finnish composer. The symphonic poem "Finlandia" is his creation. This patriotic music is loved by all music listers throughout the world. I was am very happy to show my photo with the bust of Sibelius at Helsinki's Sibelius park.
- My Photo with Sibelius.
- Monument dedicated to Sibelius.
It looks like a big pipe organ, but it is supposed to
mean more than that. I am not able to explain.
- Let us hear his Finlandia. Sibelius composed this symphonic poem in 1899 when Finland was still under Russian domination. This musical poem stirred up the nationalism among the Finnish people, and it made a substantial contribution toward the independence of Finland after the collapse of the Russian empire in 1917.