Mathematical Instruments: Nassif Ghoussoub

February 8, 2013 § 1 Comment

This post is part of the series Mathematical Instruments in which we introduce you to some of the math bloggers listed on our site. Today:

Mathematical Instruments

via Wikimedia Commons

Nassif Ghoussoub — Piece of Mind

Apart from “Piece of Mind”, any places like other blogs, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. we can find you on?

I do also Twitter but nothing else. I have another “UBC Board of Governors” blog connected to the University Housing Action Plan. It is now dormant, as the plan has passed. It is now waiting for another issue to pop up.

Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?  E.g., Where are you coming from (both geographically and philosophically)? What is your (scientific) background?

I seem to be from “everywhere”. Born in Africa, raised in the Middle East (Lebanon), Graduate studies in Paris, Postdoctoral work in the US and now at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver (for 3 decades). I work on nonlinear analysis and PDEs. I have been a vocal advocate for the mathematical sciences, working at building (intellectual) capacity: PIMS (1995), MITACS (1998), BIRS (2003), Mprime (2011)

When and how did you first discover mathematical blogs?

I can’t really remember. I do recall however, seeing Isabella Laba’s blog, “The accidental mathematician”, and was impressed by how much her blog allows her to discuss substantive issues that she cannot discuss elsewhere and for which there is no real forum (She is my colleague and I know).

What is the story behind the name of your blog?

Well, I am somewhat known as (and often chastised for being) a person who speaks “his mind”. Plus, I think I was subconsciously aware of the new branding exercise at my home university, “UBC-A Place of Mind.”

When did you start blogging? Why did you start? What do you write about?

I happen to represent the Faculty on the Board of Governors at UBC, and I had been scratching my head on how best to relay to my colleagues information about Board issues that concern them, and on how to get their input. And one day in November 2010, as I was lying bored in bed with a nasty flu, I started typing on my laptop, and I haven’t stopped since.

What wouldn’t have happened to you without the Internet?

That’s a great question, because I really believe that none of my contributions to “building capacity” would have been possible without the Internet. PIMS and MITACS are both distributed institutions with many universities involved. I don’t know how scientists and staff could have coordinated and collaborated without the Internet. All my advocacy effort would have been unimaginable without it. Remember that we are many thousands of miles away from Ottawa!

What does the Internet need more of?

We need more mathematicians blogging, tweeting etc…our community is still relatively not well represented in the blogosphere, in spite of the list of blogs that you so rightly display and advertise.

Your daily web reading (mathematical or otherwise):

I am a news/information junky, albeit scientific, science policy, political, social, etc., … Reading the links that I receive through my twitter account is already a full-time job.

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