Category Archives: Honouring friends

Maurice Sion: 1927 – 2018

Maurice Sion was a very dear friend and a distinguished colleague in the mathematics department at the University of British Columbia. He died peacefully in his sleep on April 20, 2018. Maurice retired from UBC in 1989, after a career … Continue reading

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Robert M. Miura: 1938 – 2018

I just got word that my friend and colleague, Robert Miura, passed away on November 25th. Robert was born in Selma, California, to an immigrant family from Japan. When he was three years old, he and his family were sent … Continue reading

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Did you say, Father’s day?

Last Monday, I wasn’t feeling great, so I asked a good friend of mine to come over and give me company, which he promptly did. Yes, this may be uncommon in this part of the world, but both he and … Continue reading

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Interview with a mathematician: Nassif Ghoussoub

Originally posted on The Intrepid Mathematician:
Nassif Ghoussoub is the founder and current director of the Banff International Research Station, the founding director of the Pacific Institute of Mathematics, and the co-founder of MITACS NCE. On top of all that,…

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A life of mathematics and computation: Jon Borwein

Originally posted on The Intrepid Mathematician:
There was sad news this week with the passing of Jonathan Borwein on Tuesday, August 2, 2016. Jon Borwein in his lab at University of Newcastle, Australia. Jon was a powerhouse mathematician and computer scientist who…

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Humbled and Proud

All I could think of when the phone call from the Governor General office came was the friendly face of the immigration officer who signed my residence papers more than 36 years ago. I hadn’t applied for a refugee’s visa, … Continue reading

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A few words at a happy event

Thank you, Mme. Chancellor. Thank You, Mr. President, and Thank you, University of Victoria, for this tremendous honour. I obviously have many connections to UVic, but I should start by mentioning a very special one.

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Light years from the academy

To Joseph on his 20th birthday Leaning over a game of Backgammon in the main square of this remote mountain village of the Levant, the four unemployed teenagers didn’t see it coming. Youssef Habib lunged at them from the back … Continue reading

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The last graceful act of a beautiful mind

Sunday morning, May 24th: I am having breakfast with a life-long friend, Ivar Ekeland, at his kitchen table in Paris, France. He was just back from Oslo, and was telling me about the ceremony for the 2015 Abel prize, he … Continue reading

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Highlights from the installation speech of UBC’s 13th President, Arvind Gupta

Here are excerpts from the speech of Arvind Gupta at his official installation as UBC’s 13th president. Canada’s post-secondary system should take notice. “We recognize UBC as a Place of Mind, but also as a place of shared cultures, traditions, and … Continue reading

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UBC appoints a doer as its 13th President

Once again, UBC has steered clear of appointing a career university administrator for its top position. Unlike UofT and UVic, who opted for the ultimate insiders, and McGill, who went for a consummate bureaucrat, UBC has chosen to appoint a … Continue reading

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Thank You Notes

The conference held at UBC on the occasion of my 60th birthday has come and gone, and I am still overwhelmed by the generosity and friendship shown by all attendees and organizers. And I am still awed by the powerful, deep and … Continue reading

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Celebrating Martin Barlow and Ed Perkins

A conference was held last week at UBC on the occasion of the 60th birthday of two of my distinguished colleagues, Ed Perkins and Martin Barlow. I was honoured to be asked to say a few words at a banquet … Continue reading

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Canadian Common CV: NSERC vs. Linkedin

“I hope you write a blog post about the shameful time NSERC is wasting for all of us dealing with the Canadian Common CV website!!!” My friend was referring to NSERC’s new “Portal” to be used to “manage application and peer review … Continue reading

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Bill, Joram, Olek, Ted and Bob

I am not posting today about Budget 2013 as many of you may have expected. I am writing instead about friendship, scholarship and death. Today, I was planning to drive down to Seattle to participate in a memorial service for a … Continue reading

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Ted Odell

Originally posted on Gowers's Weblog:
I was shocked and saddened to hear about a week ago that Ted Odell, a mathematician to whom I owe a lot, died suddenly on January 9th of a heart attack while he was…

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In memory of Hugh C. Morris

“It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that in the early morning of December 23, my beloved father, and a man whom I know you knew very well, passed away.”  That was Sue informing me yesterday … Continue reading

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“Stock options” in the business of building research capacity

A highlight of my latest visit to Ottawa was a reunion with my friends and former brothers-in-arms, Don Dawson and Luc Vinet, at the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Ceremony. Our role in founding the MITACS network back in another millennium … Continue reading

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Sixty already?!

For some, it is hard to believe: It is the hair! exclaimed once Shing-Tung Yau. I cannot believe it either, though for different reasons. And now that super-natural and sub-natural forces have failed to stop me from (almost) getting there, I am … Continue reading

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“You hit the jackpot!”

That’s what I am told lately, over and over again. That the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) has hit the jackpot, because the man who has just accepted to chair its Board of Directors is no ordinary man. To have … Continue reading

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