Home away from Home


As a recurring visitor to Gothenburg emeritus professor David Pegg has stayed in most of the accommodations that the University of Gothenburg has to offer via its guest housing service. Even though he has his favourites among them, he always enjoys visiting Gothenburg and has come to see the city as a home away from home.
“If it wasn’t for the fact that Swedes speak so good English, I would probably speak Swedish by now.”

David Pegg
Photo: Joacim Schmidt

David Pegg, an emeritus professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Tennessee, has come to Sweden to work on a paper with Professor Dag Hanstorp at the Department of Physics at the University of Gothenburg. The two are long-time collaborators and their latest paper is about to be published.
“We’ve been working on this for a couple of years now and I came so that we could go through the paper one last time.”

This is far from David Pegg’s first visit to Sweden, or to Gothenburg for that matter. He was 17 when he first visited the country in 1957, as part of a high school exchange program where he spent two weeks in Leksand, in Dalarna. It was the first time he left his native home in England and on his way to Leksand he passed through Gothenburg.
“I remember sitting on the train and thinking that I had never seen so many trees in my life. Cornwall, where I grew up, is very windswept.”

His next visit to Gothenburg came in the winter of 1962. At the time, David Pegg had a Swedish girlfriend and he crossed the North Sea by boat in order to visit her parents.
“I was a university student and I asked my girlfriend to show me the University of Gothenburg. She took me to the main building with the lion statues outside. Back then I never thought that I would visit Gothenburg professionally.”

However, time would prove David Pegg wrong and 30 years later, in 1992, he was asked to travel to Gothenburg again, in order to be an opponent during Dag Hanstorp’s dissertation, which led to them becoming friends and to a fruitful collaboration between the two.
“I was doing some work on negative ions in Tennessee at the time, which was the subject of Dag’s thesis. I stayed at a bed and breakfast on Föreningsgatan during my visit and Dag’s professor, Ingvar Lindgren, showed me all around the city.”

The following visit to Gothenburg lasted for seven months. David Pegg travelled here with his wife and stayed at Ekmanska Villan where the university had guest apartments at the time. At another time, he stayed for four months in the guest apartment dubbed Royal Society (as it was donated to the University of Gothenburg by The Royal Society of Arts and Sciences), at Drottninggatan in central Gothenburg.
“Before I retired I would teach so often times I would come during the summer and again when my classes ended in early December, then I would travel back before Christmas.”

During his many visits he has stayed at most addresses where the university has, or has had, guest apartments and accommodations.
“I’ve stayed at Ågrenska Villan once. I’ve stayed at Storgatan three time which I liked because I could walk to the Rose & Crown. I’m a big Arsenal fan so that was the pub to go to. I’ve stayed in Olofshöjd once which is a student housing so it was very loud around the time that the students finished their exams, but I found a nice Indian restaurant close-by.”

David Pegg’s most frequented guest accommodation in Gothenburg however, is in Guldheden.
“I like it very much. It’s within walking distance from the Department of Physics, if you need to take a tram it’s right by Wavrinsky’s Plats and I’ve discovered a lot of nice walks in the area.”

Having spent a great deal of time in Gothenburg, and in Sweden, David Pegg has grown fond of both the country and the Swedes.
“It feels as if I have three homes. I guess my heart is still in England, where I grew up. My second home is where my family is now, in America. And then there’s Sweden.”

Originally published 14 November 2019