Get Tech-ed Out This Summer

Summer’s in full swing, and school is probably the last thing on your mind right now. But just because it’s the “off season” doesn’t mean you can’t have fun learning about technology!

Now that you’ve got some time off and (hopefully) some hard-earned summer job cash in the bank, do yourself a favor and book a vacation trip to one of these tech-tastic destinations around the world:

1. CERN laboratories, Geneva, Switzerland: Founded in 1954, CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious science and technology research labs. Home to the famed Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a gigantic particle accelerator used to study the smallest particles known to man, CERN draws roughly 25,000 visitors every year. In addition to tours of the facility — including ones with themed itineraries — CERN offers seasonal events including exhibits, lectures and more. Check out the calendar for updated information. And even if you can’t make the trek to Geneva, you can still get a feel for the place by visiting CERN’s video archive.

2. Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Calif.: If you haven’t yet been to Silicon Valley — the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California — now might be the time to see what all the fuss is about. According to an MSNBC.com article, “the city basically invented the concept of the tech entrepreneur: young, dressed down, and brash, but unassuming.” In fact, about 35 percent of all venture capitalist dollars invested in the U.S. goes to the Bay Area, MSNBC said. And while there, don’t forget to pay a visit to Buck’s, an eatery in the neighborhood of Woodside that witnessed the conception of eBay, Hotmail and Netscape, according to the article.

3. Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J.: In 1933, nearly two decades after completing his work on the theory of relativity and 11 years after receiving the Nobel Prize, physicist Albert Einstein moved to the scenic little town of Princeton, N.J., to join the Institute for Advanced Study. It was a new beginning for him, both politically and career-wise: Not only was he was fleeing Nazi Germany, but he was embarking on the research mission that would fill the remainder of his days; that is, to discover “a true unified field theory for a more profound understanding of nature,” according to the IAS site. Einstein worked at the IAS until his death in 1955.

4. New Songdo City, near Seoul, South Korea: It sounds like something out of the latest “Star Trek” movie: a futuristic housing development that links “all residential, business, and medical infrastructure via RFID and Wi-Fi, so you’ll be able to check your dental records, unlock your front door, and pay your bills from your cell phone,” according to an MSNBC.com article. It’s not scheduled for completion until 2015, but you can scope out the progress. And it’s only about 40 miles from Seoul, which means you can check out the Samsung and LG headquarters while you’re in the area, as well as immerse yourself in the robust gaming culture. According to an article on travel blog RatesToGo.com, “the city is awash with gamers who … play World of Warcraft and other cult-like favorites.”

5. Bangalore, India: India’s third-most populous city, Bangalore has been dubbed the Silicon Valley of India. It serves as a hub for many multinational technology corporations, as well as for Indian tech-consulting firms Wipro and Infosys and for Biocon, “a biotech company that made its founder India’s richest woman,” according to MSNBC. In fact, an ITWorld.com article referred to Bangalore as “home to India’s tech elite” and argued that “even before the multinational companies discovered Bangalore’s potential as a design and development location, [it] was already a key location in India for the electronics industry.”

6. Taipei, Taiwan: According to RatesToGo.com, Taipei “boasts one of the foremost Wi-Fi grids in the world, with over 20,000 access points that cover 9 out of 10 residents and most visitors as well.” And from Aug. 5-8, check out the 2009 Taipei International Industrial Automation & Robot Joint Exhibition, housed in the Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall. 

– Agatha Gilmore, agilmore@certmag.com

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