Who is this?

I used to avoid conferences. It was simply something I was not interested in, especially because I wasn’t in position to visit conferences specializing in my area of research. Still, I decided to go to one and present my paper.

As a former participant in international mathematical competitions, it is quite natural for me to compare the conference atmosphere with one on IMO. There are some similarities – certain number of people one would call ‘geeks’ gathering in one place plus their teachers who can’t take the title geek due to their age, international company, exchange of ideas – but still, there is something missing. I’m not sure what it is.

Oh, before I forget – there’s one nice anecdote I have to share. Helmut Bölcskei was the first speaker at the conference and he gave an interesting lecture – which was made even more interesting when he warned the audience that he had made an error in his presentation – and that the audience will have to report what the error is when the lecture is over. Only hint he provided was – it is in one of the pictures.

Once the lecture was over, audience remained quiet. Professor Bölcskei returned to a slide with photos of three scientists and revealed that two photos were correctly captioned, but the one shown in this post wasn’t. He just said – it is one great Croatian mathematician, but you probably don’t even know he’s Croatian! (remark: this conference took place in Zadar, Croatia).

Then I realized who it is – I jumped off my chair in the back row and shouted: Vilim Feller! That was the correct answer… and I felt good – an amateur historian of mathematics found a way to show his modest knowledge at an Electrical Engineering conference!

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