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.

Also, I had the chance to visit with Academy President Nils Christian Stenseth and Secretary General Øivind Andersen. On Tuesday of next week, the day before the Sigma Xi Nordic Chapter Conference, I will meet with President Stenseth, who is also a Professor of Biology at UiO and leader of the Centre of Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis. The meeting will be to introduce Joseph Whittaker, Immediate Past President of Sigma Xi to him. Joseph, and eminent neuro-biologist, is coming to be our Keynote Speaker for the Conference. Those two should have some professional interests in common, in addition to their respective roles as leaders of prominent scientific societies.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening, and one I will remember for a long time. The real highlight, though, was seeing the Hungarian Ambassador dancing a spirited Hungarian dance with Mrs. Szemerédi. That was really great!

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