Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Surprises in Sweden and a Unique Academic Genealogical Tree

Today is the first official day of spring and the weather is sunny and beautiful in Gothenburg, Sweden. I even saw crocuses blooming as well as some pretty white flowers.

This is my first visit to Gothenburg and I have begun my official Visiting Professorship appointment here.

However, I am not the only faculty member from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. Two of my colleagues, Linda Smircich and Marta Calas from the Management Department are also here and, coincidentally, they arrived on the same day as I did. A colleague of theirs mentioned a notice for my talks here to them and what a surprise it was. They actually have offices down the hall from me at the Isenberg School and across a lovely courtyard here in Sweden.

I just saw Linda and Marta and we exchanged hugs. It is rather special that we are spending our spring break in this magical city and at the same business school!

Yesterday, I gave my presentation at Chalmers University of Technology and marched up a big hill to get there. Professor Ann-Brith Stromberg, who remembers meeting me at a dinner party in Linkoping, Sweden many years ago, was in the audience as well as a female PhD student, who is working on her industrial PhD. It was great to reconnect with Professor Michael Patricksson and to discuss the kinds of transportation and logistics projects that the optimization group at Chalmers is involved in. I also very much enjoyed speaking with an adjunct professor who works also at Volvo about the challenges faced by industry in Sweden.

While at Chalmers, I found out that my colleague, Lars-Goran Mattsson from KTH (the Royal Institute of Technology) in Stockholm, Sweden, will have another doctoral student defending his dissertation this spring. Amazingly (and I doubt that this has ever happened before in the history of academia), his doctoral student, PO Lindberg, whom I know as well, was actually Lars-Goran Mattsson's doctoral dissertation advisor. PO is now working on his second PhD and his former student is now his supervisor! So, the academic son is now his academic father's academic father!

Mattsson and his student, Erik Jenelius, and I and my former student, Patrick Qiang, both have papers in the special issue on transport vulnerability, which is now in press in Transportation Research A.

Travel is wonderful for creativity!