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My Roots and Some Confessions

Twilight Zone

Below are some materials without any scientific relevance, which I leave here just for gossip!

I was born in Portugal on the last day of the summer of 1980. In the old days, the survival of our family mostly dependend on a humble agricultural business. In the earliest 90's, after the Common Agricultural Policy entered into force, real estate then became the bread of our family, as the European Union laws on agriculture placed our humble business in a risky position. While in Portugal, I lived in a small town, nearby Lisbon, called Pinhal Novo: It is a quiet lovely place—I still keep family and many good friends there—, I go there often, and it is still my home somehow.

Portugal is such a beatiful country... look at that!



I have been intrigued about the secrets of programming since the times of my Timex Sinclair 2048—by now an old-fashioned home computer—which I used massively for playing video games during the times of my primary school. I must confess that I only started really appreciating mathematics much later in my education. I remember one day when I experienced the same feelings I used to have when playing on my old computer: I decided on that day that mathematics would be the game I would be playng during my BSc studies, and there I became in love with Topology, Measure Theory, and Abstract Algebra.



I would like to see mathematics in action in the real world, and hence after my BSc I went directly to a PhD program in Economics: I soon realized that Econometrics was what I enjoyed the most. I felt however that I was loosing the contact with the problem-solving strategies of applied mathematical modellers, and this motivated me to change to a PhD program in Applied Mathematics, with emphasis on Statistics.

Randomness plays such an important role dictating the fate our lifes: I was introduced to Vanda Inácio de Carvalho—my wife—by chance. Have a look at the celebration of our matrimony!



While she was doing her MSc in Statistics, Vanda wanted to ask for a copy of an article to my colleague and friend Miguel Fonseca, the guy in the middle on the photo below (C. R. Rao on the left!).


For some reason, Vanda's e-mail went on the desk of the wrong (right?!) Miguel... We have been an happy couple since then!


Here is some advice (nonsense!) from the journal Diabetologia:

"If you are lucky enough to find a statistician who can communicate with the non-numerate and is of the opposite sex, you should consider a proposal of marriage. It's that important."

Have a look at www.diabetologia-journal.org/eicadvice.html.

I received education on classical music at the Conservatório Regional de Setúbal, and played for about 5 years for Ervas Daninhas—a Portuguse punk rock band—, and for other garage bands, as a solo guitarist.



According to GeneAll.net, I am the third Miguel de Carvalho in our family, so maybe I should write my name with a double "Jr." at the end?! (Nah!) For curiosity, in Portuguese, "Carvalho" means "Oak" and "de Carvalho" means "made of Oak."

The economic situation in Portugal is not the best at the moment: As a 'joke' some say that getting a PhD there, implies you will need to get a passport sooner or later. After finishing my PhD I moved to Switzerland, where I stayed for two years to complete my post-doctoral studies.



After this, I moved to Chile, first as an Assistant Professor (2012–2015) and then as an Associate Professor (2016). Here I am exploring Chile:


In an attempt to mimic the steps of the famous Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle, I have visited Chiloe and Valparaiso (Chile), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Rio de Janeiro (Brasil), along with a few other places on Darwin's notes. I still have the dream of one day completing Darwin's entire journey. Here is a picture of the famous Palafitos of Chiloe:


Along the journey, I also had the joy of discovering Mate:


Here are some of Darwin remarks on Yerba Mate:

"We arrived at camp during the night, and after drinking a lot of Yerba Mate, I prepared to go to sleep. I was surprised to discover that my sleep was very deep and refreshing. Although the wind was very strong and the night was chilly, I never slept more comfortable."

Darwin could not acummulate frequentent traveler miles in the Beagle, but with modern airlines you can do this; here is how I used my miles:


They say strange things happen in Easter Island: In the picture above it almost looks like someone was confusing me with a moai, or perhaps with a rapa nui? And not so many people are aware of this, but I helped Chile winning the 2016 Copa América (America Cup) ;-) Here is the proof:


Here are three promising PhD students I met in Buenos Aires; they have been recommended to me by Quino,


I arrived Edinburgh in mid November 2016; here is what I found on the breakfast room of the hostel I stayed in the first few nights:


Coincidence? As posed by Persi Diaconis:

"The really unusual day would be one where nothing unusual happens."


More gossip can be found here (Document in Portuguese).