Focus topics

Timo Balz – Exploring the distance from Wuhan

Actually, Timo Balz should have known better. As a professor of remote sensing, the native Swabian is a precise observer of minimal fluctuations and tiny changes. He uses satellite radars to survey movements on the planet. Balz collects data on volcanoes, tectonic plates or the subsidence of cities. It’s a matter of a few centimeters per year – if at all that. But the isolation of his adopted home, the city of Wuhan, in January last year, on the other hand, was one thing Balz hadn’t seen coming, even though there were plenty of clues. “I was certainly a bit naive in this case,” he recounts a year and a half after the pandemic began. Rumors had long been circulating that the city was about to be sealed off.

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