Sunday, September 15, 2019

My 200th Article - Remembering a Great One

This week I finished a paper with a colleague of mine, Professor Patrizia Daniele of Italy, which I had been invited to submit to a special issue of a journal. The paper is on international human migration networks, a topic that is very timely, given the various refugee crises around the globe. The topic of human migration I have been publishing on for over 25 years and it is even tackled, using network models, in my first book, Network Economics: A Variational Inequality Approach, published in 1993, with the second edition appearing in 1999.  In the book, the first citation in the chapter on migration is to  Beckmann, M., “On the equilibrium distribution of population in space,” Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics 19 (1957) 81–89. 

Professor Martin Beckmann was a member of my PhD committee at Brown University, which was chaired by my dissertation advisor, Professor Stella Dafermos. He was renowned in economics, regional science, and transportation science and was the recipient of the Robert Herman Lifetime Achievement Award of the Transportation Science Section of  ORSA/TIMS, now INFORMS. He received this award in 1994, and you can read the wonderful tribute to him on the occasion of this award by David Boyce, published in Transportation Science

Professors Boyce, Hani Mahmassani, and I wrote a retrospective on Beckmann, McGuire, and Winsten's landmark book, Studies in the Economics of Transportation, that was published by Yale University Press.

And, in 2005, at the INFORMS meeting in San Francisco, David Boyce and I organized 2 sessions in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of  Studies in the Economics of Transportation, and the photos below were taken after the sessions. Beckmann and McGuire were present, along with their spouses. Winsten had passed away the year before.

Professor Beckmann passed away at age 92 in the spring of  2017  and his family reached out to me to invite me to attend an informal memorial service in the Beckmann home in Providence, Rhode Island. My husband and I were able to attend and to express our deepest condolences to his family members and also to recall numerous wonderful experiences that we had had with Professor Beckmann in many countries, from Sweden to Australia! I wrote a reminiscence is his honor after returning from the service,where I also posted quite a few photos of various events over the years, several that were in his honor. I had earlier written a tribute to him on the occasion of his 90th birthday and his son acknowledged it.

Since David Boyce and I had written an "In Memoriam" on the passing of Beckmann's co-authors: McGuire and Winsten, published in Transportation Science, it was only fitting to have Martin Beckmann be honored in the same way. Hence, when David Boyce approached me this summer to co-author an "In Memoriam" in honor of Martin, I willingly accepted the offer.  This gave us the opportunity to reflect some more on his extraordinary contributions, his effervescent personality, his incredible intellect, lust for travel, and his love of  great food and adventure and music and friendships.

Our article, "In Memoriam: Martin Beckmann (1924-2017),"  has been accepted for publication by the Editor of Transportation Science, Professor Martin Savelsbergh. And, coincidentally, and, this is bittersweet - this is my 200th journal article. Beckmann's work has influenced so much of my work on networks (and that of so many others) that I wish that I could, once again, speak with him. His work will continue to inspire me, my students, co-authors, and all those who are captivated by the interaction of users of many complex networks that underpin our societies and economies. Thank you ever so much, Professor Martin Beckmann!