Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Celebrating 15 Years of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

I received a stunning invitation in the mail yesterday, which brought back so many pleasant memories. The invitation was from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the invitation was for a celebration of  15 years since its founding and also 135 years of Radcliffe.

In 2005-2006, I spent a sabbatical at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and was one of 12 Science Fellows that year. I had an office in Putnam House on Brattle Street, one of my favorite streets in Cambridge, MA, because of its location next to Harvard Square and also its history. I loved working that year on my Supply Chain Network Economics book, talking with fellow residents of Putnam - an engineer, sister physicists, linguists, and a computer scientists, and a French mathematician (Pierrette and I still stay in touch). Radcliffe generously also supported two of my female collaborators that year for several months when they visited me.

I also so much enjoyed the lunches filled with conversation across disciplines because that year (and this is another aspect of the Radcliffe Institute experience that is so special) we had novelists, artists, historians, film-makers, a psychiatrist, and other trailblazers, among us. I also very much enjoyed the talks that the Fellows gave and the various formal and informal get-togethers around Harvard and Cambridge.

Radcliffe is very special and its Institute for Advanced Studies is a true gem of scholarship and collegiality.  ORMS Today featured my essay on that very special year - thank you, INFORMS, for the great support of your members! Dr Elane Chew, then of USC, followed in my footsteps, a few years after my Radcliffe year, and I believe that we are the only operations researchers to have been Science Fellows, thus far, and I hope that there will be many more!

Some of you may know that the present President of Harvard, who is also its first female President, Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, was the Founding Dean of the Radcliffe Institute and she was its Dean when I was there. Dr. Barbara Grosz, a renowned computer scientist, was the Science Dean then.
To mark 15 years of the Radcliffe Institute and 135 years of Radcliffe,  there will be a celebration on May 30, 2014.  Also, Drew Gilpin Faust will be receiving the 2014 Radcliffe Medal.

I RSVPed my regrets - I will be in Sweden during Radcliffe Day 2014 - but through this post I wanted to reflect and reminisce and also to thank Radcliffe and the Institute for its support of interdisciplinary scholars and its vision!

Wishing everyone at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study much continued intellectual discourse and discoveries and, again, thanks for such a great year and for the friendships made!