Most of our friends know Rick as a wonderful musician, and a warm,
generous, funny, and patient person. But he has always told Kathy:
"I am a much better mathematician." When we were deciding whether to accept the invitation travel to Iran for the International Workshop on Combinatorics, Linear Algebra and Graph Coloring ,
we received this message from an organizer.
It was: 'I have been getting many messages from Iran saying that they are really looking forward to your visit. Your papers and your results are a great hit in Iran and many people (faculty and graduate students) are looking forward to seeing the legendary Rick Wilson in person.'
This wonderful photo was taken during Rick's second lecture by Tania, for IPM.
At the conference Rick was one of several 'keynote' invited speakers, and his well received lectures were given on two days. The first was called A Lemma on Polynomials Modulo pm and Applications to Coding Theory. Kathy knew it had a certain fascination for those who could understand, when the first question asked after the lecture was: "How did you think of this lemma? Were you awake late one night with a glass of wine?"
As usual, Rick got everyone in a good mood, right away. At the beginning of his first lecture, he got our his digital camera, and took a photo of his audience... both sides of the aisle. (Just like he did at our wedding!)
Here you can see some of the other important people at the conference, with their best smiles: Front row, left is Reza Khosrovshahi, Associate Director of IPM, and Head of the School of Mathematics; and on his right, 'keynote' invited speakers Willem Haemers, from Tilburg University, Netherlands; and Hadi Kharaghani, from the University of Lethbridge, Canada. In the second to the last row in the back, on the far left, is Dean Crnkovic, from the University of Rijeka, Croatia, who lectured, and lived with us in the guest house. You can see Kathy peeking out to his right.
All of these people are important, not only because they are excellent mathematicians, but they are wonderful people. We got to know them well (some were already friends from previous conferences). They are uniformly friendly and good-humored. We shared an amazing adventure. They will always be our friends.
Below are more important people; in the second row, from the right are 'keynote' invited speakers Samad Hedayat from the University of Illinois at Chicago; to his left Peter Cameron, from the University of London, UK; to his left, Carsten Thomassen, from the Technical University of Denmark; just between Carsten and Peter, one row back is Richard Brualdi, from the University of Wisconsin, USA; and second row from the back, on the far left, Charles Johnson, from the College of William and Mary, USA. In the front row, on the ar left, is the colorful Nanaz Shahriari, a mathematician, and wife of organizer and invited speaker Shahriar Shahriari. It was Nanaz's mother who made us a delicious Iranian home cooked meal at her home in Tehran.
Shahriar introduced Rick, so is not seen in this picture. His good spirits and constant helpfulness made our visit all the more wonderful.
Rick's second lecture was called Decompositions of Edge-Colored Complete Graphs and Applications to 2-Designs and Universal Algebra.
During the conference, as at all mathematical conferences, the lectures were given in English. The high level of mathematics in Iran was evident, from the many Iranian mathematicians who presented lectures, and also from the many students from Iranian universities who attended the conference, and were avid questioners. the
On the last day of the conference, it was hard to leave, because so many students wanted to talk to Rick, and he spent a hour saying goodbye to the conference participants.
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