Skip to main content

Good bye, George Herbig


Jason Wright has an excellent tribute to one of the True Greats in astronomy, George Herbig. As with Jason, George was my grand advisor since he was Geoff Marcy's academic advisor way back when (Geoff did his thesis work with Steve Vogt).

He will certainly be missed. I had a wonderful two years getting to know him while I was at the IfA, chatting with him every couple weeks or so. He was always in his office when I stopped by, even at the age of 88 (!), and his computer screen always had an IRAF window open with some spectrum or another. He gave me excellent job advice that I still pass on to this day. 

Whenever I tried to compliment him, he would tell me how much more I knew than him, and how much he had to learn from me. He was genuinely humble and eager to learn, despite being one of the true greats in our field. I want to be like George when I grow up.

It was an honor and privilege to get to know him. George, we'll miss you!

Comments

barbara flaska said…
How nice to find your tribute and remambrances of Dr. George Herbig. I had the privilege of meeting him in 1987 in Hawaii, when we were both relative newcomers to the IfA and Hawaii.

As "malahinis" new to Hawaii, everyone began learning the language and lore of the islands. Once at an astronomy gathering, I shared a new story I learned of with Dr. Herbig. While sipping a glass of wine, he and his charming wife listened to my recounting of a famous episode of Hawaiian history (told aloud as part of the Hawaiian oral tradition of story telling), and he really seemed to enjoy this particular tale of King Kamehameha. I think Dr. Herbig understood the context of this story completely, because that's who he was, too. http://www.hawaiiforgivenessproject.org/stories/Forgiveness-Stories-web-06.htm#paddle

Popular posts from this blog

On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I started by downloading a stock photo of J.J. from NBA.com, which I then loaded into OpenOffice Draw:


I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

\begin{equation}
x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)
\end{equation}

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…