Palmero 1984

During the summers of 1978 and 1979, I taught at a Summer School in Mathematics at the Università degli Studi di Perugia. One of my students was Pantaleo Carbonaro, who invited me some years later to spend a month at the Università degli Studi di Palermo in Sicily. Who could resist such an opportunity?  I accepted the invitation for the month of January 1984, and went with Linty and our younger daughter Penelope who was then about to study French and Italian at Oxford.  


We rented a cottage at Mondello, a few miles to the west of Palermo, and conveniently near the bus terminus.  Fortunately it was January rather than July, and the blustery weather suited us well.  One could however sense a rather unsettling Mafia presence in the market place!  


Salvio Mercurio very kindly took us to Erice and to the Greek temple at Segesta, completely deserted at that time of year.   

I gave some lectures in the University,  but mainly worked on magnetic relaxation under the topological  'frozen-field' constraint, work that was published just one year later.  I believe this work was critical for my election to Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1986.