Thursday, August 8, 2019

Tribute to Godfried by Marc van Kreveld

My first encounter with Godfried was when he visited CWI in Amsterdam 
(for a sabbatical I think), around 1989. Mark de Berg and I took his 
computational geometry class, after having taken the one of Mark 
Overmars a few years before during our studies. While Mark's class 
followed the book of Preparata and Shamos closely, Godfried's class was 
more free and we learned a lot of new things.

A few years later I got to know Godfried a lot better, when I did my 
postdoc at McGill University in 1992/1993. This was a very fun and 
productive year. I got to work with many of the people at McGill and 
nearly universities, including Sue Whitesides, Jit Bose, David Bremner, 
Jean-Marc Robert, Hazel Everett, and of course Godfried Toussaint. I 
remember that Jit, Godfried and I were working on a casting problem and 
used an orange peel to understand what the geometry of the casting 
problem was. It was a memorable year for me (in a positive way of course).

Many years later, in a furniture store in Utrecht that specializes in 
modular book shelves, I was looking at the books they had standing in 
the showroom to decorate their products. I was very surprised to see a 
familiar book: Godfried Toussaint's Computational Morphology. It seemed 
fitting to me, that such a book decorated the shelves of book shelves 
whose geometry could be changed at will. I guess very few customers 
realized how much this book had meant to the computational geometry in 
the early days.

I will remember Godfried for the gentle person he was, and his great 
interest in all research in geometry.