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   www.moldepanorama.no

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

Night rises.

One Euro

As every fledgling pilot learns, either by instruction or by experience, night doesn’t fall; night rises. That is to say that as sunset approaches first the surface of the earth under the pilot gets dark, while the sun shines brightly (or at least the clouds are bright) up in the air. This is, of course, a consequence of the curvature of the earth. So the unpleasant surprise for the novice who is accostomed to flying about in nice weather in the middle of the day is that a late-planned approach to landing could well be conducted in the dark of night. This is especially true in the summer, when the sun descends rapidly under the horizon. If the hapless pilot has no training yet in night landings, then the lesson in doing so is readily at hand. Continue reading

Sigma Xi Annual Meeting

125th Anniversary Meeting

As I write I have just returned from the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina. This meeting celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Society, and carried the theme “The Responsible Researcher: Conscience and Collaboration.” Several plenary and breakout sessions covered the many aspects of integrity in research, echoing the foundational principle of the society — honor in professional conduct.

Of the several awards and prizes presented at the Meeting was the John C. McGovern Science and Society Award to Kathryn Sullivan, the William Proctor Prize for Scientific Achievement to Supriyo Datta, the Walston Chubb Award for Innovation to Casimer DeCusatis, and the Young Investigator Award to Teenie Matlock. All were highly deserving and appreciated by the assembled delegates. Continue reading

Caste and Class — Airline Style

A few years back I came to understand that the Bolshevik Revolution is over. While walking through Oslo Gardermoen Airport I noticed that Aeroflot had Business Class. Imagine that, the official airline of the classless society with Business Class! The registration numbers on Aeroflot planes still begin with ‘SU’, a holdover from the Soviet Union, but otherwise, class is back. Continue reading

Report of foreign bank and financial accounts

Great Seal

The quotation below is a warning included within United States Department of the Treasury Form TD F 90-22.1, title above, which must be filed by every American taxpayer if he holds a foreign bank or financial accounts equalling or exceeding the amount of $10,000 at any time during the reporting year. The complete form is available here: U. S. Treasury Form TD F 90-22.1

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