Eight ways you know you're watching the World Cup with German geoscientists

POTSDAM, GERMANY—Germany is in the throes of World Cup frenzy, having advanced last night to the tournament’s quarterfinals.

But how might you know you’re watching the tournament with some of the nation’s foremost earth scientists?

1. Grad students from several German science institutes have set up a tent to watch the game below a graceful 19th century meteorological facility on Potsdam’s historic Telegraph Hill.

2. It’s a sunny early evening when the game kicks off, so the researchers reduce the glare in their tent using SCIENCE—posters describing their work.

(One poster here.)

3. After a long day analyzing data, the scientists recharge with beer, provided in bins usually reserved for field equipment or samples taken on field studies.

4. Despite their physical science pedigree, your hosts have harnessed the power of psychology to pay for the alcohol.

5. Discussion of the wet conditions on the field in Recife, Brazil, turns to climatological issues, naturally.

One scientist explains that the city’s low latitude drives the rainy, tropical weather. “I just analyzed this city for sea level,” says another, Matthias Mengel of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

6. Occasional lapses in the online video stream are met with preternatural calm.

(Locked 0-0 at halftime, a vague sense of tension is broken with Frisbee and an impromptu slackline.)

7. German ambivalence about overt nationalism is perhaps more pronounced with nerdy scientists—many are pokerfaced. But in the 55th minute, Germany scores, and joy ensues.

“Usually us scientists are working pretty separately, so it’s good to get together and meet one another,” says Nadja Torres, a student in geomicrobiology at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, after Germany holds on to win.

8. (Elsewhere German crowds are more rowdy.)

Here's fans at a Munich bar enjoying an earlier game.

(Eli, a contributing correspondent for Science, is attending a summer school on Arctic issues in Potsdam.)