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Heidelberg Laureate Forum

Heidelberg is a gorgeous city — ancient, beautifully built, walkable (at least this part). There’s a castle up on the hill, gorgeous old buildings, and narrow streets paved with cobblestones. And whoever it was who paved these streets did it with remarkable artistry. Check it out:

I particularly love this spot, because of the way the stones in the middle fit into two different arcs at once:

Check out the detail around this drain!

I can’t quite imagine why they’ve done this, but in a few spots, they’ve patched the road with asphalt. Seems odd, since it seems like one of the virtues of cobblestone is that it’s easy to repair the road. I wonder how long ago these cobblestones were cut.

Also, in some places, they have concrete “cobblestones,” clearly a more modern addition:

The cobblestones make the streets all feel like human space, not just car space. I found myself fantasizing about paving my driveway with cobblestones…

All pictures in this post © Julie Rehmeyer

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is a freelance math and science writer who writes the Math Trek column at Science News ( She also writes frequently for Discover Magazine and Wired. She studied algebraic topology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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