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

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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

Winter in Oslo

We have been having what many locals describe as a ‘cold’ winter. The lowest temperature recorded in Oslo came on 21 January at –12.5C (+9.5F). That’s not really cold by my Chicago standards, which see –10F (–23C) in many winters, and –20F (–29C) in some. Right now, outside my office on the Blindern campus of the University of Oslo the temperature is up to +3C (+37F) — really balmy. Continue reading

Fr. Kjell Arild Pollestad

Sacrificial Lamb of God —

Spanish Inquisition

Father Kjell Arild Pollestad is a Catholic priest of the Dominican Order living in Norway. He is a celebrated author, no doubt the best received Catholic Norwegian literary figure since Sigrid Undset, 1928 Nobel laureate, also affiliated with the Dominicans as a lay person. His accomplishments are many and diverse. An accounting of some of them appears in his Wikipedia entry. Kjell Arild Pollestad

All this would be interesting unto itself as a biographical item, but now comes the kicker. Fr. Pollestad has been accused in recent time of attempted homosexual rape allegedly visited upon his victim, a Norwegian seminarian, many years back. The identities of the players in this drama are less important than the setting and the outcome to date. I will not identify the persons here, though they are easily discovered for any interested. Fr. Pollestad vehemently denies the charge. Continue reading

Sigma Xi Election

125th Anniversary Meeting

First the disappointing news: my close friend Antonio Pita and I have both lost our respective elections, he for President, and I for Director of the Canadian/International Constituency Group. Prevailing were Father Thomas Stephen Acker, S.J., former President of Wheeling (West Virginia) Jesuit University and Dr. Robin Moore-Orr, an Australian living and working in Canada. Both winners are highly respected scientists. Fr. Acker is just as well regarded as an academic administrator by reputation. Personally I know Dr. Orr, and note her as a most gracious lady. These two will represent their constituencies admirably, and have my full support. Continue reading