Lunch with Lotfi
One day last week I went to have lunch with my friend, Professor Lotfi Zadeh, in Berkeley. I picked him up in his office on campus. I have written about him before. Inventor of "fuzzy logic," Lotfi is a Professor Emeritus at Berkeley's EECS department. He still goes to work everyday, keeping with his huge network of contacts worldwide. As charming and dashingly clothed as ever, my 88-year-old friend made me laugh and think as is a tradition between us. We had Prsian food at Alborz and talked about the Iranian elections and what is happening in Iran. With his very philosophical view on life, he made light of a grim situation.
Lotfi is originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, though he was raised in Iran, where he attended school and university. His anecdotes, reflective of his wonderful sense of humor, always includes something about Russia and Russians. He told me a joke about the 1996 Russian elections during which Boris Yeltsin was re-elected. He said as the polls had closed and they were counting the votes, a Yeltsin aide came to see him late at night and said: "Sir, I have good news and bad news." Yeltsin asked him to give him the bad news first. The aide said "The bad news is that your opponent has 60% of the votes." Distraught, Yeltsin asked: "What's the good news, then?" His aide said: "The good news is that we've got 80% of the votes!" Lotfi is a delight! We spent a good time talking about life, relationships, and politics. Disarmed again with his wisdom and charm, I can't wait go see him again.