Today starts hurricane season in Louisiana and LBTC staff is working on the BP Oil Spill disaster. We have several LBTC client companies involved in technologies related to the clean up and LBTC counselors and the mobile classroom is being activated to assist businesses impacted by the spill in filling out SBA loan applications, in dealing with the business and monitary issues in the fisheries, tourism, oil field services and other industries located in the spill area. LSU researchers and LBTC client companies are involved in the environmental issues related to the spill. It is very fortunate for the people of L'Aquila that there is no earthquake season and that the major quakes have been at 100 to 300 year intervals.
Today, I travel with Professor Piero Tognolatti to meet Dr. Roberta Antolini at the Laboratorio Gran Sasso (LNGS). We will meet at the outdoor labs on the mountain then travel into the underground labs. I have been warned to wear warm clothing as the labs temperatures should be below 10 A C. I will post pictures on my return.
An interesting note to my blog. Jordan Freisleben, a senior at Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles has been following my blog. Jordan is a high school journalist and student of Italian language and literature. He was awarded a Presidential Fellowship and will be traveling to L'Aquila from June 14-18. Unfortunately, I depart to return to LSU on June 12. However, I will send Jordan a list of contacts at the university and have forwarded his email to Maria Grazia Quieti of the Fulbright Program in Rome and Anna Tozzi of the international office at the Universita degli Studi dell'Aquila. I will send him contact information for the faculty and governmental and business leaders that I have met so that they can meet and interact.
Yesterday after my seminar, I met with 5 faculty in one-on-one sessions to discuss both technology commercialization and disaster recovery roles for the university and faculty. Professor Stefania Costantini of the Department of Informatica brought two graduate students that are working on interesting technologies and are seeking funding to develop the projects for commercialization. Their area of specialty is artificial technologies. It is interesting to note that the commercial / industrial sector rarely supports university research in Italy. We will continue to discuss these projects and there is much interest for student and faculty exchanges.
The night ended with a fine meal at a local restaurant called Le Botte. It is our third visit and there are no menues and the owner and staff speak no English. After a round of charades, sign language and speaking slowly, we had a fabulous meal with most of what we thought we ordered.