Janet's thread

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Flashbacks October 29, 2010

One aspect of the passing years which I am finding quite fascinating is that occasionally people that I have know in the past reappear and are now quite famous.  I find that quite exciting.  Last year one of my professors from years ago in Berkeley came to Dublin for a special award from the Royal Irish Academy, among other things.  A friend of mine in my former book group is the Librarian at the RIA and she very kindly arranged for me to meet my former professor, Amartya Sen, whom I knew when he was at Berkeley back in 1965-6.   That was wonderful to have the chance to meet him again and roll back the years – and learn about some of the happenings in his life since that time.  This photo of him is from younger years.

Now more recently another of my professors at  Berkeley professor has appeared in the news.  Peter Diamond was a very young rising star – he was younger than me his mature student age 28, and he was tagged at that time as destined for bigger and greater things.  Sure enough, reading about him in the press, he has had a very distinguished career.  But seeing his name in the news brought me back to those days of sitting in the classroom and struggling with the mathematical approach to economics.

The photo above of Peter is from his home page.  At Berkeley I remember him as having dark wavy hair.  In one of the references I read about Peter, it said that he exemplified the tradition of Paul Samuelson in his breadth of interests.  To name drop a bit more, Paul Samuelson was a neighbour in Belmont where I grew up.  He was of my parents generation and I read that he died last year at the age of 94.

And speaking of UC Berkeley, I recently ordered a book from Amazon – a book of interest to Berkeley graduates.  when i was there, life at berkeley, 1960-2010, An anthology by 35 alumni authors.  Another delve into the past.

As for my interest in economics which I pursued at Berkeley – while I didn’t rise to great heights in the profession, I am very glad that I studied for and achieved that PhD degree, awarded in absentia in 1970, very shortly, like a few hours, after I gave birth to our second son in Dublin Ireland.  It was to do the field work for my PhD that I went to Africa, Nairobi Kenya; met my husband -to-be, married, moved to Dublin, etc. 

 This story to be continued.


Economic Memories August 17, 2009

Filed under: Development Economics,Welfare economics — Janet @ 9:00 am

miscellaneous Ian 050 Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, Dublin

In the Irish Times Weekend Review section this past weekend (Saturday August 15) there was a review of the latest publication, the Idea of Justice,  by the Nobel Prize-winning welfare economist Amartya Sen.                180px-Amartya_Sen_20071128_cologne  photo courtesy of wikipedia


Professor Sen was in Dublin earlier this year to deliver a lecture at Trinity and to be made an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy.  I had the pleasure of meeting Professor Sen on this occasion.  In another life, when he and I were much younger, he was my professor at the University of California Berkeley.  It was relatively early in his career; he was a visiting professor at Berkeley and I was a “mature” graduate student.  Mature at that time meaning about age 28.  He was already a distinguished lecturer and he gave a very compelling course in development/welfare economics.  From Berkeley I went on to Kenya to work on my dissertation.  Professor Sen moved on to continue a notable career at Harvard, Cambridge in England, and other universities.   In 1998  I was thrilled to read in the Irish Times that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in welfare economics.   And I was even more thrilled to actually meet him again when he came to Dublin.  We had a brief chat at the Royal Irish Academy where he was awarded Honorary Membership – a chat encompassing memories of Berkeley, Professor Sen’s ties with his native home in Bangladesh, and colleagues we know in common  in the field of welfare and development economics.  For me, this encounter has been one of the highlights of the summer.