Techna is UTN's magazine. The magazine has mixed content, both entertaining and informative, all created by students, for students.

Campus Garden Outside Geocentrum

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In March 2020, Techna reported on a workshop where 199 student suggestions were collected for the university’s “Environmental Objectives and Action Plan”. Many of them focused on sustainable food and gardening on campus. Now, a year later, the project Campus Garden is in full motion and has been granted funding from Uppsala University’s climate pot. Techna visited them on a rainy workday in their garden at Villavägen 14.

How did the project come about?

OTILIA: “Me and Sagnik met in a community garden where we were both volunteering last summer. We were doing a lot of gardening together. We had so much to talk about, and we did it over gardening which is a fun activity and a great activity to do last summer, especially. That made us talk about spreading this thing.”

SAGNIK: “I was also working on my thesis about “green roofs” – producing food in gardens on rooftops. I was thinking: ‘We could do something like this in a practical way.’”

How did you hear about seeking funding from the university’s climate pot?

SAGNIK: “I also volunteer for Zero Waste Uppsala and they were applying for this climate pot funding. But we never expected that we would be getting it!”

In what ways has the pandemic affected you? Do you think people are more eager to join the project because of it?

OTILIA: “I think that has been a thing we’ve heard a lot of people say – that it’s nice to do something else than sitting by the computer. My body hurts for a good reason, that’s the first time in a while.”

SAGNIK: “We started our work days in the beginning of April and before that we were behind the computers, for like four months. So we were trying to prepare the whole thing in the pandemic. We used to have ‘Monday meetings’ from 7 o’clock and everyone would be complaining: ‘When do we start the gardening?!’”

What will you be planting? How will the garden be organized?

OTILIA: “We have a designated area for a kitchen garden, that’s where we will have the main, annual vegetables. We will be planting kale, onions, pumpkins, zucchinis and corn. We want to experiment and see what works. We’re not really aiming for a huge harvest – we will try to plant to get as much of a variety as possible.”

This will be a permaculture garden – what does permaculture mean, for you?

OTILIA: “One example of what permaculture means for us is that we are using cardboard instead of ground cloth or anything plastic on the ground. We want to preserve as much of the microlife as possible. Now we’ve dug the paths so we can use the soil, so we have had to disturb it a little bit, but we want to try to rebuild it and feed it as much as possible.

Permaculture is like working with the ecosystem that is here and trying to learn about the place, not just implement too much without knowing what’s going on. It’s a lot about observing and getting to know the place and thinking about how nature solves things – using wood chips to try to simulate paths in the forest, for example.”

SAGNIK: “Another principle we follow is to keep a low carbon footprint. We try to get as much stuff as possible from recycling – these cardboards we got from dumpsters. And with the tools, we have asked people to donate, rather than getting it first hand.”

OTILIA: “That’s a part of the permaculture thinking as well, producing zero waste, and trying to use resources creatively, and think of ways to not hurt the planet as much.”

So you have gotten a lot of stuff donated?

SAGNIK: “When we started we didn’t have any tools, so we borrowed from Flogsta food. ”

OTILIA: “Facebook has been great in that sense. In the beginning we didn’t really know how we could receive things, but once we got a hold of that it’s been really easy for people to just reach out to us and be like: ‘Yeah, I have this – do you need it?’ And then they drop it off and might come in on a work day. Now we refer to a lot of things as ‘the table Emanuel brought’ or ‘the axe that Zack brought’.”

So far, what has been the most difficult part of the project?

OTILIA: “There is a lot of bureaucracy and things are moving slowly. There is a hierarchy to get through to get things to happen. And when you have a lot of eager volunteers, who want to get stuff done… combining that with how slow the university can be, that has been difficult. But there are people within the university too who have been really excited about it and have helped us a lot.”

SAGNIK: “Also people have a lot of questions about what will happen in one year, since this project only continues until December. What will happen after that? Answering right now, upfront, is a bit difficult. For us it’s more of an ongoing thing. We didn’t have all the answers from the beginning. We weren’t even sure we would get volunteers but now we have 50.”

What has been the easiest?

SAGNIK: “Getting all these people out. We never would have thought that. You can see how dedicated they are!”

OTILIA: “When we just had the Zoom meetings, before the meeting started we would worry: ‘What if no one shows up?!’ And then when the clock struck seven boom boom boom, everyone joined. I don’t know how many times I’ve cried in those meetings because I’m just moved by how amazing it is to see people show up.”

SAGNIK: “I mean, we just had an idea and then this idea was co-created by so many people coming together – it’s amazing. More and more people are coming in and we have more and more of a bond together. Today we have a potluck lunch.”

What’s been the most valuable part of this project, for you personally?

OTILIA: “The community that’s being built up. Seeing people week after week and realising that we’re building it together. If someone planted a bush over there – that person is going to remember that they planted that bush there. Every single thing that we do, someone did it with their hands. When we pass this place we know that it might look a mess, but it’s our mess.”

SAGNIK: “It makes us proud – that you can see your work on the ground. I have studied sustainable development and we learn a lot of things over there on theory and like making the world a better place and all. But doing something like this and evolving an idea... Seeing this substantial change that we make… yeah, you can say that that’s our mess.”

OTILIA: “We have a designated area for a kitchen garden, that’s where we will have the main, annual vegetables. We will be planting kale, onions, pumpkins, zucchinis and corn. We want to experiment and see what works. We’re not really aiming for a huge harvest – we will try to plant to get as much of a variety as possible.”

SAGNIK: “It makes us proud – that you can see your work on the ground. I have studied sustainable development and we learn a lot of things over there on theory and like making the world a better place and all. But doing something like this and evolving an idea... Seeing this substantial change that we make… yeah, you can say that that’s our mess.”


Netflix Review - Swedish Edition

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Taking up hobbies has been at an all time high this year, given the pandemic we live in. Many out there have started painting, become obsessed with plants, started new sports and so on. There has also been time to try other relaxing activities such as diving into the deep pool of Netflix’ series and movies. Two of Techna’s liaisons have reviewed the hottest out there on Netflix with the mission to find something for everyone, from murder mysteries to all time comedies. In this number you get four reviews of our top picks, for everyone out there looking to start a new show to relax to or binge on! This is a continuation of the previous Techna number.

The Bridge (Bron)

Genre: Drama Creators : Hans Rosenfeldt Release Date: 2011

A twisted serial killer dumping bodies on the Swedish-Danish border is investigated.

Mariam's Review:

The way it is realistically filmed was really great! Big attention to detail in set up! Through different murder cases being displayed in every season, it is interesting to follow the main characters and their character development through out. The show has an originality factor in the fact that it is about local murders where Swedish and Danish authorities have to cooperate!

Score: 4/5

Elnaz's Review:

Bron follows Saga Norén, a Swedish Sherlock Holmes, as she and the Danish detective Martin Rohde solve brutal murders that take place on Öresundsbron, the bridge which connects Sweden and Denmark. It has all the attributes that make a good detective series, while maintaining originality by describing the differences and similarities between the Danish and Swedish language and culture. I appreciate that it is not just about solving murders: the show focuses a lot on characters and their relationships. This is probably the reason why the show is characterized as a drama rather than your typical murder mystery. All in all, it is a great show: but be prepared for emotionally heavy and graphic scenes!

Score: 4,75/5

Easy Money (Snabba Cash)

Genre: Drama Creators : Jens Lapidus, Oskar Söderlund, Jesper Ganslandt Release Date: 2021

The lives of an ambitious businesswoman, a charming gang enforcer and a troubled teen collide amidst a desperate and sinister pursuit of wealth.

Mariam's Review:

Fast money, fast helicopters and drugs. An over-Americanised version of drug criminality in the Swedish suburbs and an underdog with a dream to get out of the suburbs and become a successfully rich IT entrepreneur. It is an almost overplayed plot which we have seen on TV before, but the show does try to explore it through a over dramatised version of Swedish societal dynamics, which can come across as unrealistic and inauthentic. Nevertheless it was refreshing to see a show with strong female leads of color, and generally a diverse casting and a really bangin’ soundtrack!

Score: 2,5/5

Elnaz's Review:

In this show, a mother and entrepreneur raised in the suburbs, struggles to fulfill her dream of becoming successful in life. And being successful here means earning the most money through her IT-company. “Snabba Cash”, translated as Fast Money, tackles the dark topic of drug criminality in the suburbs and the consequences for the ones affected by it. For someone that is not familiar with this issue, this series manages to paint a vivid and realistic picture of what it can look like. If you exclude the Americanized success story the show was convincing, especially the very graphic scenes and the actors who fit their roles perfectly.

Score: 4,5/5

Bonus Family (Bonus Familjen)

Genre: Drama Creators : Moa Herngren, Clara Herngren, Felix Herngren Release Date: 2017

A drama series exploring the complexities of relationships in modern family life in a blended family.

Mariam's Review:

The show portrays in a very realistic and unfiltered way the consequence of falling involved and divorcing with children and the struggle to build a new “bonus” family. It rawly portrays the struggles and evolving dynamics of the different exposes and children, in a comic way. It was an interesting take on post divorce dynamics between exposes, children and new relationships, with many awkwardly hilarious moments. All relationships have their ups and downs, that come with baggage, but if both partners are willing to do the work, it just might be okay!

Score: 3,5/5

Elnaz's Review:

What is it like creating a new family amidst your old one and your partner’s one? This show follows two families that break up because the father in one family and the mother in the other fall in love. When the two decide to live together, with their respective kids, they build a step family, or as you can say in Swedish a “bonus” family. Of course, this term is not always as simple as it sounds – in this show, it is more like a family disaster. The actors were good, but sometimes the manuscript didn’t give them the best material to work with: look out for the cringe-worthy conversations with the family therapists. This emotional drama is at times frustrating, but it has its funny moments.

Score: 3,5/5

Caliphate (Kalifat)

Genre: Drama Creators : Wilhelm Behrman Release Date: 2020

The exploration of terrorism and ISIS in Sweden today. Agent Fatima gets a tip that a terrorist act is planned in Sweden. At the same time, the teenager Sulle has opened her eyes to her student assistant who opens the doors to a new fascinating world.

Mariam's Review:

Capturing and captivating show, exploring the ISIS recruitment issues in Swedish society. Portrays the duality and exclusion which certain individuals face, and the psychology of terrorist recruitment. A raw dual reality of two worlds which exists in parallel. Through the show the viewer was able to follow different characters, which are amazingly played (great casting) allowing us to sympathise even with the most “evil” character. Exciting, original and heart-breaking: A definite must see!

Score: 4,95/5

Elnaz's Review:

This series raises another dark topic that was a big problem in Sweden a few years ago – when Swedish citizens left Sweden to join ISIS. Although it is difficult to relate to these people, Kalifat succeeds in revealing the common and shocking backstories of the people making this decision and the devastating outcomes that follow. An exciting plot is accompanied by convincing actors and settings. It is educative, captivating and heart-breaking: this show is definitely worth your time!


Which Ancient Mathematician Are You?

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Which of these speaks to you?

a) 0

b) x

c) 92

d) 60 (= 2x30 = 3x20 = 4x15 = 5x12 = 6x10)

Which of the following is most likely to happen to you after an exam?

a) All my answers are correct but I forgot to explain how I arrived at them

b) I am wrongfully(!) accused of plagiarism

c) I fail the exam but only because I was too controversial in my answers

d) I forgot to write my name/code…

Choose a sound

a) Thunderstorm and violent rainfall

b) The pages of a book softly turned, muffled conversations

c) The ringing of a copper bell

d) The north wind blowing in from over the sea

What are your interests? (Outside mathematics of course)

a) Astronomy

b) Astronomy and geography

c) Music… (and astronomy)

d) Philosophy, astronomy, teaching, geography, constructing cool instruments…

How do your friends describe you?

a) “The gem of the circle of mathematicians.”

b ) “In the foremost rank of mathematicians of all time”

c) “Impious” :(

d) “universal genius”, “... a person so renowned, their reputation seems literally incredible.”

Choose a place

a) The Observatory of Ujjain

b) The House of Wisdom

c) The Ionian sea

d) The Serapeum of Alexandria

Answered mostly a)

Brahmagupta (c. 598 – c. 668 CE)


Indian astronomer and mathematician often credited as the first to use zero as a number. Instead of zero simply signifying “nothing”, Brahmagupta presented rules for computing with zero as well as with negative numbers. The only exception from modern day rules being division, since he defined 0/0 as 0.

His book Brāhmasphutasiddhānta contains findings in geometry, trigonometry, arithmetics and algebra. For example, he obtained certain solutions for Pell’s equation (Nx2 + 1 = y2) by using “the pulverizer”, which modern mathematicians call the Euclidean algorithm.

Brahmagupta wrote in Sanskrit verse and never included any proofs – we will never know how he arrived at his discoveries!

Answered mostly b)

Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī (c. 780 – c. 850 CE)


Al-Khwārizmī was head of the library at the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, in the early days of the Islamic Golden Age. He is remembered today as the father of algebra. The word algebra itself is derived from the arabic word al-jabr, which appears in the title of one of his books. Al-Khwārizmī was the first to show how to systematically solve linear and quadratic equations, for example by completing the square. The latinized version of his name gave us the word algorithm.

Since at the time no concise notation existed for algebra, Al-Khwārizmī wrote everything in words rather than symbols. For instance, the equation

(10-x)2=81x was written as: “You divide ten into two parts: multiply the one by itself; it will be equal to the other taken eighty-one times.”

Answered mostly c)

Hippasus of Metapontum (c. 530 – c. 450 BC)


A mysterious Pythagorean philosopher, not much is known for certain about Hippasus. He seems to have been one of the first to mathematically analyze music. In experiments he used bronze disks to produce different tones. However, his name mainly appears in the legends of how the Greeks discovered irrational numbers. Allegedly, Hippasus died at sea, thrown overboard by his fellow Pythagoreans, after revealing the square root of 2 to be irrational. This dangerous number completely disrupted the Pythagorean worldview. Another version of the story tells that he was punished for revealing how to construct a dodecahedron inside a sphere.

Answered mostly d)

Hypatia of Alexandria (c. 360 – 415 CE)


One of the oldest, most well documented female mathematicians, Hypatia lived and worked in Alexandria as a highly respected teacher and public lecturer. During her time, she was the brightest star of an academic tradition in decline. Sources tell of her constructing devices such as astrolabes and hydrometers, and annotating classical works for the benefit of her students.

In the end, Hypatia was tragically caught in the midst of rising political tensions in Alexandria and was murdered by a Christian mob. The news of an esteemed philosopher savagely beaten to death shocked and horrified the entire Roman empire.

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