What’s up with chicks and science?

Early evening at the Avant-Garde Bar. My mom is sitting in her usual spot, working on her laptop, while my dad is tending to the customers. The opening band is getting set up for their performance and the rest of musicians are curiously wandering around the bar, looking at posters. One of them approaches my mom for a chat:

“What’s that on your screen?” – he points to the pdf of a mathematics book that my mom is using as a reference for a math lesson she is preparing.
– It’s a math book.
– Oh, what’s your profession?
– I’m a mathematician.
– A musician?
– No, a mathematician.
– What? You are a magician?
– I’m a mathematician.
Awkward silence. Looks confused for a few seconds and decides to give up on a conversation. Rejoins the rest of the band.

Ring of the curtain.

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People make Places: Valentina Rognoli and Barbara Cuerden

It has been almost a month since I returned to Ottawa from Europe. Yet, what inspired me to finally sit down and write about my experiences was a stapled copy of references from the book “Il Progetto della Natura” by Giuseppe Salvia, Valentina Rognoli, and Marinella Levi. Thus, it is only fair that I begin my story with Politecnico di Milano.

Roma to Milano

The blast of horn came from terminus 25 at about 5pm – a piercing, penetrating sound that flew out from The Eternal City of Rome and died mournfully in the field of poppies. That was the signal for the departure of the coach. I silently bid farewell to my wonderful cousin Ekaterina and her family – whom I have last seen in St. Petersburg, Russia twenty years ago – and shook hands with a spruce Italian businessman. He looked with distaste at the deep cyan of the Roman sky arching over poppy fields and began a typical “stranger on the train” conversation. Massimo was headed home, whereas my aim was to reunite with Valentina and see for myself a vast library of materials that she so diligently put together for the department of industrial design.

Valentina Rognoli

“Welcome home, welcome home!” – said Massimo in perfect English, as the train dashed past mansions and ironwork fences with wild vines.

“Here is my number, and you let me know what you think of Milano tomorrow.”

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