Saturday, October 11, 2014

From David Rappaport

We first met more than twenty years ago when Ferran came to Kingston for a day to discuss problems that I had worked on. Godfried Toussaint had arranged this meeting and it was with a bit of trepidation that I agreed to make time to meet a total stranger. Needless to say the time we spent together was sublime. Nobody could make discussing mathematics more pleasurable than Ferran. But there was far more to Ferran than mathematics. At dinner that night Ferran charmed my wife Tracy, a visual artist, with his depth of knowledge of art.

Many years later when I finally made it to Barcelona for a Sabbatical stay Ferran was the ideal host. He organized a fabulous apartment,  a fantastic school for our daughter, Bree, and took care of every mundane detail meticulously, including coffee in the cupboard and milk in the fridge for our first morning in Barcelona.

Once I drove with Ferran to Zaragoza from Barcelona. I remember listening to music on that trip. Ferran must have carefully selected the cds that we would listen to. Of course we listened to Flamenco. But in addition to that Ferran turned me on to what has become one of my favourite jazz guitar players. Ferran had a knack of doing exactly what was right. 

He was an exceptional human being, always human, always genuine, always real. We miss him very much.

1 comment:

  1. This is a shock!

    As I am not on the CG mailing list anymore, I only come to know this sad news today (Nov 19). I remembered vividly that Ferran visited the computational geometry group at McGill in late 1991/early 1992 (when I was a first year PhD student), and modestly described (probably) his first work in computational geometry --- onion polygonizations. I remembered the two of us discussing the unoriented maxima problem posed by Godfried in his computational geometry class, over a weekend in the room behind the CG Lab where he was sharing with a couple other visitors, as both of us complained "too cold and nowhere to go". (That problem then hooked a few other members in the CG group at McGill: David, Luc, Hossam, Eric; and was eventually published in SIAM J. Comput. in 1998.)

    As my research are mostly in computational biology since about 2004, I did not have much chance meeting Ferran. But I enjoyed my last meeting with him at SoCG'11 in Paris, chaired by Ferran. I enjoyed our chat.

    Ferran, you will be missed!