Author Archives: Paul Carlisle Kettler

European Mathematical Society Issues Letter
Critical of U.S. President Donald Trump
and His Administration

P for Paul

On 10 February 2017 the European Mathematical Society [EMS], of which I am a member of the governing Council, published a letter along with 55 other societies entitled, “European science organizations: maintain transparency, open communication and mobility of scholars and scientists.” The letter was not addressed to anyone, and thus rather was rather a statement of policy. A copy of the letter appears here: Letter Critical of Donald Trump. I suggest you read it before continuing.

First, I issue a disclosure. I am an American. I am grateful for my election to the Council by my peers, believing I am the first and only American so to serve. With this confidence placed in me by my peers I strive to serve their interests always ahead of my own.

Please be aware now that no one consulted me about the decision to publish this letter, to which I would have objected. I know not whether other members of the Council were consulted, but the authorization for the letter must have come either from President Pavel Exner of the EMS or its Executive Committee. The normative issue here is that confirmation by the Council to publish this letter should have been sought, if for no other reason than to protect the President and the Executive Committee from repercussions. Now they are coming.

The letter pure and simple is a diatribe against the President of the United States Donald Trump and his administration. It is a thinly veiled attempt to force the United States government to genuflect to the European scientific community, adhere to its concepts of worthy research projects, and to fund them to the full extent of the wishes of this community. Donald Trump is President of the United States, not of the world, nor even the European community of states, however described. As such, he and his administration have no duties to this community other that those specified by American law. These would include treaties as ratified by the Senate, including membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and membership in the United Nations. Nowhere included is a duty to send money to European scientists.

In particular, none of these signatories to the letter has any financial claim for research funding on any American institution, such as the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health. The implication that they do devolves from this arrogant European stance that somehow American taxpayer money must fund their research projects under the guise of academic freedom. Further supercilious posturing includes ad hominem attacks on the United States President for his assumed positions on such subjects as climate change, and on his approach to the related concepts of state security and immigration policy.

I, along with almost all Americans support freedom of speech, and the right of these 56 institutions, including the EMS, to make the statement of their letter. However, let us not forget that to preserve this right, and others we hold dear in our Western democracies, over 117,000 American military personnel sacrificed their lives in Europe in the First World War, and over 185,000 sacrificed their lives in Europe and the Atlantic Theater in the Second World War. Many of these casualties are buried in cemeteries all over Europe.

So, back to the letter. It’s all about the money, isn’t it? How crass, how coarse, how base. But, what more does one expect from this bunch of elite snobs?

A book recommendation

P for Paul

Recently I read a very good book, especially for those mathematics buffs with a penchant for probability. The book is Fluke, the math and myth of coincidence by Joseph C. Mazur, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Marlboro College, Marlboro, Vermont. You can read my review here, along with the complete citation: Referee Report

The book is available for purchase from Amazon, where it is also offered for the Kindle. Note that I have no financial interest in this referral.

Seventh European Congress
of Mathematics

Seventh European Congress of Mathematics

The Seventh European Congress of Mathematics has concluded in Berlin, Germany, during the period 18–22 July 2016. With over 1200 participants this quadrennial event is the largest gathering of mathematicians in Europe. The Congress, sponsored by the European Mathematical Society, lasted five days, with two days preceeding reserved for meetings of the EMS governing Council. Additional sponsors included the:

Continue reading

The Nation in Princeton’s Service

P for Paul

In its April 24, 2013, issue the Princeton Alumni Weekly published its recurring column, “The President’s Page” by soon-to-leave-office Shirley M. Tilghman. For this issue President Tilghman penned an unabashed lamentation, “The cold wind of sequestration,” referring to the United States Congress having allowed planned cuts in federal spending to go forward. Continue reading

Energy Finance 2012

Energy Finance 2012 Banner

The Energy Finance Conference 2012, sponsored by the Department of Industrial Economics and Technology Management of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, took place on the 4th and 5th of October at the Rica Nidelven Hotel. This Conference was a spectacular success, one of the best I have ever attended. Congratulations go to Conference Chairman Prof. Sjur Westgaard, Conference Vice Chairman Prof. Stein-Erik Fleten, and Secretary of the Steering Committee Postdoctoral Fellow Peter Molnar. Continue reading

Sixth European Congress
of Mathematics

Sixth European Congress of Mathematics

The Sixth European Congress of Mathematics has concluded in Kraków, Poland, during the period 2–6 July 2012. With about 1000 participants this quadrennial event is the largest gathering of mathematicians in Europe. The Congress, sponsored by the European Mathematical Society, lasted five days, with two days preceeding reserved for meetings of the EMS governing Council. Additional sponsors included the Polish Mathematical Society and the Jagiellonian University, host of the event. Continue reading

Nordic Chapter Conference Oslo

Flag of NorwayFlag of DenmarkFlag of SwedenFlag of FinlandFlag of Iceland

On 30 May 2012 the Nordic Chapter of Sigma Xi held its Third Annual Meeting and Research Conference in Oslo, Norway. The event was co-sponsored by the Centre of Mathematics for Applications, a Centre of Excellence of the Norwegian Research Council, and the University of Oslo, and took place on the Blindern campus of the University of Oslo in in the house of Niels Henrik Abel, named for the late, great, early 19th Century Norwegian mathematician. Continue reading

Evening at the Norwegian Academy

Endre Szemerédi holding his Abel Prize

The dinner and party at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters was a happy occasion to honor Abel laureate, Hungarian Endre Szemerédi. I met him and his wife and several prominent mathematicians, including Avi Wigderson, Timothy Gowers, and Terence Tao, with whom I sat at dinner. Wigderson is a Gödel laureate, and Gowers and Tao are are Fields medalists. They are among the finest and most renowned mathematicians in the world. As well, at dinner, I sat next to Inger Moen, who was the Academy President at the time of the first Abel Prize. She knows Liv Bliksrud well, sister-in-law of one of my wife Bente’s long-time friends Tove Bliksrud. Liv is an Academy member and the foremost scholar on the life and works of Sigrid Undset. Continue reading

ElCarbonRisk Conference Molde

Molde Panorama

“Molde panorama”   Copyright © Egil Sæbø

On Monday and Tuesday 21–22 May I had the distinct pleasure of attending and participating in the ElCarbonRisk (Modelling and Forecasting Risk in Electricity, Carbon, and Related Energy Markets) Conference at Molde University College in Molde, Møre & Romsdal, Norway. The Organizers, who did a first-class job of preparation and execution were Prof. Sjur Westgaard of the Trondheim Business School and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Prof. Gudbrand Lien of Lillehammer University College, and our Host and Technical Organizer, Prof. Per Bjarte Solibakke of Molde University College. The full Conference program is here, from Prof. Solibakke’s web site. ElCarbonRisk Conference Program

Continue reading

The trial of Anders Behring Breivik

As I write Norway is into its seventh day of the trial of Anders Behring Breivik, the terrorist who killed, by his own admission, 77 people in and near Oslo on July 22, 2011. That day will “live in infamy,” echoing the words of President Franklin Roosevelt to a joint session of Congress concerning the attack by the Imperial Japanese navy on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Continue reading