Who am I? The non-Viking version

Mats Pettersson - that's me.   (In Swedish)

I work as a highschool teacher at Angeredsgymnasiet in the city of Goteborg. Goteborg is the second biggest city in Sweden, the home of Volvo, SKF and other major industries, situated on the west coast, close to both Norway and Denmark, so you could say it is in the middle of Scandinavia. Our city politicians, at least, sure like to think so. Goteborg is also a city of shipping, commerce, culture, sports and education. About half a million people live here. It is actually a very nice place - come over here and you will find out for yourselves.I was born here but since my parents moved about a bit, I had to move back here myself. I now live in a very special, hilly part of the city, Masthugget where the ship carpenters, especially those making the masts for the sailingships, used to live. Hence the name "Masthugget" (masthewing). I live here, overlooking the city and the harbour, next to a great park, with my wife Anne and our three daughters.

At the age of forty-nine I've done quite a few things, e.g. a Masters degree in Science in Engineering Physics awarded by Chalmers University of Technology, Goteborg, Sweden. During the same period and since, I also studied quite a lot of astronomy, always a fascination. From the beginning of time, astronomy tends to intrigue and fascinate man. Looking, of course, for the ultimate answer - how does it all work? I've always been curious to know and I hope I'll stay that way. I'm grateful for having been around during this era: IT, space, man-on-the-moon etc. I can still recall the thrill from my boyhood, looking up into the night sky trying to detect a moving satellite among all the stars. And the joy if you spotted one!

However, science isn't everything. Life has so much to offer. Before my daughter Jenny was born I spent a lot of time travelling all over the world and all I've seen and experienced; natures, cultures, cities, all the people I've met have helped to form the man I am today.

Curiosity and humility to other cultures and other people are qualities I find helpful in my daily work at the school. Angeredsgymnasiet is a multi-cultural school with students from all corners of the world. We are also a national highscool for disabled young people. This fantastic mix certainly requires very special qualifications from both personnel and fellow students. It's not easy, why should it, but it's a challenge, each and every day. Things happen continuously and there's never a dull moment. And if there is, I try not to take too much notice. One of the key words for teachers should be just that - curiosity. To me it's a fringe benefit to work with young people, sometimes it's even a grace, and I hope my curiosity and fascination before the world and how it works will inspire them to feel the same way I do.

I teach natural science and technical subjects and I also participated in forming a new technical program at our school last year. In a joint venture with Chalmers University of Technology at Lindholmen here in Goteborg we are seeking to create an interest for natural science and technology among our students, thus preparing them for later studies at a University of Technology. One step in this cooperation is the fact that I work one day a week at Chalmers Lindholmen, teaching Electronics.

Life has more to it than work. I find it hard to cram in all the things I would like in the time at my disposal. The 24 hours never seem to be enough. With an understanding family and with accepting friends it mostly works out, though. Time spent with family and friends ranks high in my life. Another thing I don't want to be without is my daily reading. Science as well as other literature. A couple of chapters from a good thriller often steel an hour´s sleep or so.

I always try to keep in shape, so I work out twice a week and I also try to run in the nearby park to keep alert. The real treat comes every summer when I go hiking in the mountains in Sarek, a nature reservation in the north of Sweden, in fact the largest wilderness in Europe. Here I can feel and experience the great nature, the wonders of being alone and having to rely on yourself entirely. Fortunately, my dear wife also became infected with this life, so nowadays we usually spend this seemingly uncomfortable life together for a couple of weeks each summer. It makes wonders for your soul to be without papers, phones, computers etc for a while! I only wish more people could experience the same.

I sincerely hope to be gifted with ongoing curiosity of this world. There are so many, many things to discover. And, as I pointed out earlier, there is this little snag about time, isn't there? My 82-year old mother recently got her first computer and is planning her first trip to China - that fills me with hope.

Finally, I am very excited about the fantastic opportunity to learn more about Polar Sciences offered to me by NSF, TEA and The Swedish Polar Secretariat, and I am very proud to be the first Swedish teacher to take part in the TEA-program. Together with the teacher Jason Petula from Pennsylvania I will join the AMANDA-team at the South Pole. An adventure beyond my wildest dreams. Most of my pages will be in Swedish but please take a look, you might even learn some Swedish.

Goteborg in September 2001

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Mats Pettersson
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