Sunday, March 1, 2009

Was it Only a Year Ago -- My "Second" Fulbright

Today is March 1, 2009, and it feels that March is coming in as a lion with a lot of snowfall expected in New England!

In my last post I wrote about my first Fulbright, which took place in Innsbruck, Austria, and began in March, 2002. In 2005, I was awarded a Distinguished Chaired Fulbright in Canada but could not accept that and a Science Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard so I declined the Fulbright in Canada. Wanting to experience another Fulbright adventure, I applied for a Senior Fulbright Specialist Award in Business Administration and was informed last year by the Italian Fulbright Commission that I was granted the award. My "second" Fulbright took place last March at the University of Catania in Italy. Catania is located at the base of the volcano Mt. Etna, which periodically still erupts, and is on the island of Sicily. My host was Professor Patrizia Daniele of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science who is also a Center Associate of the Virtual Center for Supernetworks.

As part of this Fulbright, Professor Daniele and I organized a workshop on "Complex Networks -- Equilibrium and Vulnerability Analysis with Applications," which brought together scientists from different disciplines -- mathematics, physics, computer science, and operations research/management science. It was a terrific event and we were especially pleased that so many female scientists spoke and participated. In addition, I had the wonderful experience of teaching a class at the University of Catania and in interacting with colleagues in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Evenings we would spend promenading down the main avenue, Via Etnea, in Catania which was filled with families walking, shopping, and having treats such as gelato and wonderful Italian pastries. Catania has cobblestone streets, magnificent architecture, shops with beautiful Italian made crafts, and is located on the Mediterranean Sea. Photos that were taken capture, in part, the beauty of Catania and the warmth of its people. The hospitality of Professor Patrizia Daniele and Professor Antonino Maugeri was tremendously appreciated.