The Spring School 1999

Some photos from the Spring School
Detailed program of the School
List of participants

The Spring School on Combinatorics was held in Borova Lada, the Czech Republic, and Finsterau, Germany, from April 19 to April 30 1999. 45 students and professors from 8 different universities in 5 European countries participated. Participants enjoyed beautiful nature of Bohemian and German mountains and made a lot of trips on foot and on bikes.

Some participants from abroad came to the Czech Republic few days before the beginning of the Spring School or stayed a few days longer. They were accomodated in Prague in the dormitory of Charles University. During their stay in Prague they visited the historical centre of Prague.

There were prepared 6 different study texts for students to be presented during the Spring School and in addition some other topics were presented. The prepared study texts were:

Students participating in the Spring School before its beginning selected the text they wanted to present and formed groups for each of these texts. In each group people discussed (using e-mail) the topic and its presentation. In some groups also the authors of the text helped with advice to prepare the presentations. Each of students presented a part of the topic in a talk lasting from 45 to 90 minutes. In addition Christopher Albrecht, Rolf Niedermaier and Hans Jurgen Promel talked about their own results. The detailed program is listed in another page.

There was arranged a special bus from Prague to Borova Lada on April 19 and from Borova Lada to Prague on April 30. Participants arrived to Borova Lada during Monday afternoon. After arriving they put up at the guest-house of Kavalier and the guest-house owned by the town council. The breakfasts, lunches and dinners were served in the dining hall of Kavalier. In the morning there were usually scheduled two talks and in the evening (after the dinner) other two talks. During the afternoons participants made trips (on foot or on bikes) in the neighbourhood of Borova Lada. Some participants rented bikes from the local livery. Students from Bonn jogged every morning in the nearby woods. On Saturday no talks were scheduled for the morning and the participants made big one-day trips. The great moving to Germany was planned for Sunday.

On Tuesday most of the participants decided to make a trip to Furstenhut. Furstenhut used to be a village before World War 2. After the war the village (situated close to the border between West and East block) was desolated. All its inhabitants were forced to leave the village. After the velvet revolution its cemetery was reconstructed to commemorate the events connected with the desolation of the village. When the group of participants got close to Furstenhut, a horrible snowstorm began. All participants got covered with a layer of snow and not all hikers reached Furstenhut - some of them stayed sheltered under trees.

Later professor Nesetril and professor Promel made their own bike-trip to Furstenhut. But they were not the only people biking. A big group of participants made a long trip to Stozecka skala. Their trip were so long that they were late for dinner.

Jakub Simek made a heroic run over 40 kilometers long. He ran to Horska Kvilda, Antygl and Jezerni slat. He returned with bleeding feet and his hurts were disinfected and bandaged using Jirka Fiala's medicine-chest.

The day of the Big Trip became. Unfortunately, people from the University of Bonn had to leave the Spring School just after the breakfast. The participants formed several groups - some went on foot, some cycled; hitch-hikers reached primeval forest of Boubin.

The great transfer to Germany with carrying the blackboard over the border happened on Sunday. After the breakfast participants got the packets with their lunch. They put their luggage into the cars of Kratochvil and Promel who were so kind that transported it to Germany. On the blackboard Diana Piguet wrote "Spring School 1999" and Robert Samal drew Petersen graph - the symbol of combinatorics. The official photo of the participants was taken. Then the movement began. The drawings on the blackboard were damaged and they were redrawn. Before reaching the border crossing of Bucina the hikers got hungry and everyone welcomed a break for lunch. The lunch was interrupted by a rain-storm. The rain lasted till the border crossing. Attila Por with help of some other participants rolled a huge snowball to the road to prevent the frontier-guards from disallowing our border crossing. During the break it started raining. After crossing the border Nesetril made a historical speech (and the rain after it stopped):

``Colleagues, students! Narodove!! Lidstvo!!! This is a historic moment! The spring school is expanding to Europe! We will colonize whole Europe by means of this little blackboard! Long live Spring School!''
Participants stimulated by the speech continued to Finsterau. In Finsterau they were welcomed in the Jugendhotel of Gisela Jahr and they got the small refreshment and put up. Talks and serving meals in Finsterau was organized similary to Borova Lada. On Thursday there was a party in the evening. On Friday participants moved back to Borova Lada.

The meals served in Finsterau were good, but the most attractive thing to eat was a chocolate easter rabbit. Jaroslav Nesetril and Attila Por didn't resist and snapped its ears and found out that the chocolate, which it was made of, was really excellent. After the end of the school, due to the common effort of all the participants, there was standing only its wrappage without any chocolate inside.

On every day some of the participants visited the museum of evolution of Baverian farms. In the museum one could see several farms with historical furniture from various eras and also some live animals. In one of the farm there was located an old classroom, which was promoted to an alternative classroom for the Spring School; fortunately, it had not to be used. The most attractive thing in the museum was a chute; almost everyone tried it.

On Monday some groups of participants reached two peaks near Finsterau (Lusen and Gross Rachel - look at the photos).

Probably executives of Europe got to know about Nesetril's historical (colonization) speech and started repression actions against the Spring School. On Monday it turned out that Akka Zemmari was in Germany illegally. German police ordered him to leave Germany within four days using border crossing of Strazny. On Tuesday Jan Kratochvil gave a ride to Vit Janota to the bus stop in Strazny. Unfortunately, he left his driver's licence in Finsterau. Due to that he was caught at the border crossing. His only luck was that he had a mobile phone and he called to Finsterau for help. Ondrej Pangrac got on his bike and brought Jan Kratochvil's papers to the border crossing. In Finsterau German police arrested Eric Sopena, because he forgot his passport in the hotel. Luckily the participants of the Spring School remembered him and found his passport and gave it to the police. After that he was released.

The last day of the School came - the Friday. Participants walked back to Borova Lada. Akka Zemmari and Andrew Rechnitzer accompanied with Martin Klazar and Diana Piguet were taken by a local school bus to the border-crossing of Strazny; Akka Zemmari and Andrew Rechnitzer were ordered by German police to leave Germany via this crossing. Participants waited in Borova Lada for the special bus but he was late. Then Jan Kratochvil phoned from Prague that the bus broke and another bus was sent from Vimperk. The bus took up participants in Borova Lada and then in Strazny and went to Prague. Students from Berlin immediately after the departure to Prague went to the railway station and left Prague by train. Students from Bordeaux stayed in Prague for three days, made some sightseeing and then left the Czech Republic by airplane.