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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!


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.

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