Tuesday, April 29, 2008

From an Italian farm to MIT's math department ...

The amazing journey of Gigliola Staffilani, who's now a tenured professor of mathematics at MIT:

Improbable. That's one way to describe it. Or you could say very lucky. Then again, you might believe in destiny. Gigliola Staffilani's life is the story of one unlikely event after another that have collided in just the right way to land her where she is now, which is sitting in a sunny, spacious office at MIT, where she is, at age 42, the only female full professor of pure mathematics.

"My life has been like billiards," she said, reaching for an explanation. "Balls have hit me and I've shot off in different directions. And I feel like all the balls that have hit me have shot me off on the maximal path."

Thanks to Jillu Madrasi for the pointer.