IBM Personal Communication

Phokion G. Kolaitis

Some Personal Information

I was born and grew up in Athens, Greece in the 1950s. Both my parents, however, come from Cephalonia, an island of unparalleled physical beauty and contrasts in the Ionian Sea. I have spent many summers of my formative years in the island, and proudly consider myself a Cephalonian.

I earned a Diploma in Mathematics at the University of Athens in 1973 and a Ph.D. in Mathematics at UCLA in 1978. Here is my entry in the Mathematics Genealogy Project. I returned to Greece in the summer of 1978 to serve a compulsory (and undistinguished) military service in the Greek Navy.

I have been writing with fountain pens since I went to elementary school. I have come across ballpoint pens and other such postmodern instruments, but have rarely written with them. Over the years, I built a modest collection of about one hundred fountain pens, mainly “user-grade” vintage pens that I enjoy putting in rotation and writing with. The most precious pen in my collection is my father’s Parker ‘51’ with a rare broad nib.

I enjoy listening to classical music, especially baroque music. Modern Greek poetry has left a mark on me. My favorite Greek poet is George Seferis, winner of the 1963 Nobel Prize for Literature. His speech at the Nobel Banquet encapsulates my own feelings about the Greek language, poetry, and the human condition.