Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's All About the Scholarship and Collegiality -- Great Regional Science Conference in Atlanta

I returned from Atlanta, Georgia around 1AM this morning.

As I wrote in my previous post, I was at the 60th North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI) .

I flew out this past Thursday, after teaching my undergraduate Logistics &Transportation class at the Isenberg School. I  had a very busy time at this great conference.

I think that Professor David Plane of the University of Arizona, who is an RSAI Fellow,  and a wonderful regional scientist, geographer, and demographer,  said it best in his essay in  the November 2013 RSAI newsletter about what is great about regional science intellectually. He stated that: I believe regional science offers “an almost perfect disciplinarily neutral meeting ground.” As in Walter’s vision, it continues to attract top minds bringing technical prowess from many directions to important societal issues of space and location. And the plain and simple style of regional science – it’s all about the scholarship and collegiality without the extraneous trappings of other disciplines and groups – has engendered remarkable loyalty among its adherents.

Of course, "Walter" is none other than the founder of Regional Science, Walter Isard, and, in Atlanta, we honored his memory in two special sessions, the second of which took place yesterday and at which I delivered the paper, An Integrated Disaster Relief Supply Chain Network Model with Time Targets and Demand Uncertainty, Anna Nagurney, Amir H. Masoumi, and Min Yu.  I also discussed the recent Haiyan typhoon in the Philippines during my presentation and the relevance of our model to the preparedness and response phases of disaster relief.

The photo below was taken after the session and includes the speakers, an organizer, and discussants.
And,  the day before,  I had the pleasure of listening to the great presenters in a special session that I organized in honor of Professor David E. Boyce's 50th consecutive attendance at this conference, dating back to his first in 1964!

We had the photo below taken of the presenters after this special session.. Professor Boyce is in the bright red tie and smile.
Detailed information on these sessions, the speakers, and their paper titles can be found in my previous post.

Also, Professor Boyce was recognized with a special plaque at yesterday at the Awards Luncheon in Atlanta and a major donation was given in his name to the Benjamin Stevens Graduate Fellowship Fund. Professor Ben Stevens was Professor Boyce's dissertation advisor at UPenn and Boyce spoke about how Isard and Stevens mentored him and how now he does the same for others (and has done so for many years).

I definitely concur with David Plane's statement about the scholarship and collegiality surrounding the discipline of regional science and I would also add the mentorship of many of its senior members who are also terrific advocates of colleagues, both junior and senior.

It was great to see friends from around the globe and to get such positive and worthwhile comments on the papers presented. This conference has a very nice model of also having a discussant for a paper.

Professor Walter Isard would have been very proud at the success of this conference (the lunch was also delicious) and to see his amazing legacy living on after his passing.

And, as for the Memorial volume that is being guest edited by Professors Peter Nijkamp and Adam Rose, we are so honored that our paper, noted above, will be in it (after we incorporate some feedback) and the Nobel laureate, Paul Krugman,  also will have a chapter in it, which I noted previously on this blog.