Saturday, 30 May 2009
Freshly baked doctors at Lund University
Ainur has now been promoted to Ph.D. in History. So we can expect much more serious posts from her in the future. ;o)
Ainur, who at 30 was one of the youngest among the 233 new doctors, was actually not the youngest. Ather Gattami, Ph.D. at 28, is a maths genius who at the age of 22 was the fastest and youngest examined Engineering student ever in Sweden.
Ather and his family moved to Sweden from Iraq when he was 12, after his father had received a serious threat from the secret service. Soon, his talent for maths was noticed, and in high school he was already taking classes in Mathematics and Physics at university level.
Ather is now a Ph.D. in Engineering at the Department of Automatic Control at Lund University. His research has focused on Optimal Decision Theory, including static and dynamic cooperative and non-cooperative games. The title of his thesis is Optimal Decisions with Limited Information - click here to read it!
As Ather explains in this interview for Sydsvenskan, Automatic Control sounds very technical but is actually a quite interdisciplinary subject, which has a lot to do with economics: "You can say that it's about games between different teams, where one team, for example, is trying to minimize costs and the other one is trying to maximize costs. It can also be about logistics and information flow."
View large size.
Ather's family are secular Mandaeians (a monotheistic religion with a strongly dualistic worldview, about 100,000 followers, mostly in Iraq and Iran - Sweden has the third largest Mandaeian community in the world).
Their family trade is goldsmith, and in his high school years Ather actually worked as a salesman at a couple of gold stores in the summers. Besides having learned the trade of a goldsmith, Ather's father had also studied to be an engineer, and back in Baghdad he was one of Iraq's highest factory directors at a military-industrial company. Today he is a senior high school teacher.
According to the Sydsvenskan interview, Ather seems to be pretty relaxed about people who are impressed with his career. And he also knows that without it, the same people might very well think completely differently about him. "It's no secret that my origin is somewhere else, I don't look Swedish. Sometimes I get the feeling that people's attitudes towards me change by 180 degrees when they hear what I do. That they might have had a whole other kind of attitude otherwise."
Further reading: Ather Gattami's page at Lund Institute of Technology.
(Both photos by Tinet.)