Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Tribute to Godfried by David Bremner

I was a PhD student at McGill in the mid-1990s, where Godfried was a
mentor and a friend to me. My PhD thesis went off in other directions
from the Euclid inspired problems that Godfried loved the most, but
Godfried was nonetheless a co-author on my first journal publication.

I first really got to know Godfried when I was invited as a Master's
student to his Bellairs Workshop Computational Geometry.  I got two
things out of that first workshop; the first was a radical (although I
didn't know it at the time) understanding of how collaborative and fun
research could be, and the second was a love of scuba diving.  Others
have describe Godfried's laid back attitude on land; if anything this
was even more true underwater. Godfried was a natural athlete, and his
inquisitiveness and love of beauty was also evident while diving and
while talking about the day's discoveries.

I'm late sending these brief words to acknowledge Godfried's impact, so
much of what I might relate has been said by others. Let me close by
saying that what was most remarkable about Godfried was not the
friendship and collaboration he offered us individually (although don't
get me wrong, that was remarkable), but the way that he acted as a kind
of one-person social network. Many collaborations started at a workshop
(or simply a coffee shop outing) organized by Godfried, and many of us
writing to this page became collaborators and friends at least partly
because of Godfried.  I can't remember decades later how directly
Godfried was involved in writing a slightly scandalous (or so we
thought, in those innocent days) rap song to commemorate Paco's time at
McGill, but I know he helped nurture the community where that seemed
like precisely the right way to finish up a postdoc.