Last update: 10 November 2004
During 1993, I was invited to make a some presentations at a Joint U.S.-Spain Workshop on Natural Hazards, as a part of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction. This workshop was organized by K.P. Georgeakakos (Iowa Institute of Hydraulic Research, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa) and J. Corominas (Dpt. Enginyeria del Terreny, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain). It was held in Barcelona on 8-11 June, and sponsored by a number of organizations, including the National Science Foundation. A report of the Proceedings has been published by the National Science Foundation, in October 1994.
During that time, I met Prof. Clemente Ramis, who invited me to a brief visit to the Universitat de les Illes Baleares (the University of the Balearic Isles, or UIB) on the Island of Mallorca in the western Mediterranean. During this visit, it became clear that Prof. Ramis and I shared a deep interest in both basic research and applications and it was decided to seek an opportunity to pursue those interests together. Prof. Ramis worked hard to secure funding for the visit, and succeeded in doing so. As I had already planned to be in Europe as part of my involvement with the MOST Project, it was decided that my extended stay on Mallorca would begin after I had finished my visit to the Czech Republic. Accordingly, I arrived in Palma de Mallorca on 25 September 1995 and stayed until 12 February 1996.
We have developed a summary of the results of that stay that are relevant to our joint interests. I have every expectation that our scientific collaboration will continue for years to come. In view of the fact that I was away from the distractions of the office, I was able to make progress on a number of projects apart from my formal interests. As those projects reach fruition, they will also be reported upon in some form. I also have a collection of images from this visit, along with some from the next.
During my stay on the island, I found my colleagues in the Grup de Meteorologia to be excellent scientists, as well as good friends. My host, Clemente, is a well-regarded teacher by the students in his classes, as well as an excellent meteorologist. His Ph.D. student, Romualdo Romero (Romu), was a real find: not only a diligent, insightful student, but a good friend (and travel guide!). It was a real pleasure to meet Sergio Alonso, whose administrative responsibilities meant I had much less time just talking with him than I would have liked. And another of Clemente's students, Elisa Tuduri, impressed me with her managing to provide a lot of project support, as well as going to classes and meeting her responsibilities at her job with the INM (the Spanish equivalent to the NWS).
This was a trip associated with the INM/WMO International Symposium on Cyclones and Hazardous Weather in the Mediterranean, which took place in Palma. My wife and I were able to stay another week in order to re-acquaint ourselves with our friends and with our favorite Mediterranean location.
I'm providing this site as a way to introduce newcomers to Mallorca. It serves only to scratch the surface, of course. Mallorca and the Balearics have a rich and diverse culture and history.
This visit was similar to that of 1995/1996. Clemente did the hard work of making the trip possible. Although the nature of the visit was similar, many of the details from this trip are different from the first. Thanks to the slow-moving bureaucracy of the Spanish consulate in Houston, I was unable to obtain a visa in time to arrive on the originally-scheduled starting date for the project in late September, arriving instead in early November! I had other interesting adventures with the Spanish bureaucracy, once again, during my stay, but nothing too awful - just moderately foolish and frustrating. A formal summary of the scientific results of my stay can be found here. I have a collection of images from this trip, as well. My friend Romu is now a professor at UIB, after having completed a 2-year stint as a Post-doc at NSSL here in Norman. He now has a family, as well. His wife is Isabel and their daughters are Lucia and Nuria. Lucia was born during their stay in Norman and so holds dual citizenship. A productive collaboration has developed between the Norman meteorological community and the meteorologists at UIB - another UIB post-doc (Victor Homar) has recently returned to Mallorca after his two-year stay in Norman. And his wife gave birth to their first-born (Antonio) in Norman about two months before their return! It seems a stay in Norman is conducive to something ... besides weather research, that is.
Once again, my wife Vickie was able to visit me for two weeks (30 Dec - 13 Jan), so we could share our experiences on the island. In addition to various excursions, including visits to Palma and Valdemossa (where we sampled cocas de patatas y chocolate a la taza), we made a trip to Santa Ponsa to visit our favorite restaurant, the Pizza House (much more than just pizza!) there. I enjoyed one of my favorite meals, while we renewed our friendship with Pepe. In fact, I like the restaurant so much, I asked that my going-away dinner with the students be held there, and my meal that night ("Solomillo de Cerdo al Roquefort") was fantastic!