Friday, November 16, 2007

Gene H Golub (1932 - 2007)

We are saddened by the sudden and unexpected death of Gene Howard Golub on November 16th around 9:00am.

We have set up this memorial site for Gene's friends, family, and fans to electronically gather, mourn, and celebrate our dear friend.

Please leave your fond memories and best wishes below.


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David Gleich said...

Gene was a wonderful friend and adviser. I'm going to miss him.

Discoverer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Discoverer said...

A wonderful teacher, whose lectures I always looked forward to with anticipation. He is immensely missed.
- Nagarajan

Thad said...

Gene had such a inspiring and fun attitude toward teaching. I was honestly struck by the warmth, good-natured humor, and philosophical perspective of his lectures on numerical analysis, and I'm really sad that he's gone. I'll miss him.

Lek-Heng said...

We may find solace in the fact that Gene had often said that he had no regrets in life.

So long, Gene. Thanks for everything. You will be dearly missed.

vpereyra said...

September 7, 1963 I walked into Stanford and met Gene for the first time and my life changed forever. Teacher, friend, colaborator, to me and to legions.
You will not be easily forgoten. Bye Gene, we'l see you in the extra-net.

Cleve said...

Subject: Gene Golub, 1932 - 2007

Gene Golub, founder of the NA Digest, passed away today, Friday, November 16, at the Stanford University Hospital. He was 75 years old.

Gene returned home to Stanford recently from a trip to Hong Kong. He was planning to leave again Tuesday on another trip, this one to Zurich where the ETH was to honor him with a special degree. Instead, Sunday night he went to the emergency room because he was "feeling lousy". On Tuesday, he was found to have AML, acute myelogenous leukemia, a form of cancer that affects the white blood cells. This is a potentially curable disease and he was expecting to begin chemotherapy today. But serious complications developed suddenly over night.

I was able to see Gene for an hour last night and he was in reasonably good spirits. Mike Saunders was trying to get Gene's laptop to use dial-up over the hospital's phone system because Gene said he was a couple of days behind on his email. I was planning to get a wireless card for his machine today. None of us had any idea how suddenly the situation would worsen.

The Stanford iCME students have created a memorial blog at .

Our community has lost its foremost member. He was a valued colleague and friend. Goodbye, Gene.

-- Cleve Moler

Gerard said...

Gene was one of the last giants of numerical linear algebra (or what he better liked to call matrix computations).

He was always very cheerful to young students and also not so well known people. He made so many fundamental contributions to our field.

He was a mentor for me and a very good friend for about 30 years. We are going to miss him very much.

Moreover, he was a great human being in the spirit of the people he admired the most like Jim Wilkinson and Germund Dalhquist.

Gerard Meurant

BL said...

Gene was an enormously helpful person at the start of my career. He made me feel that I was part of an international community. I was astonished at the way he welcomed me (and many other students) into his home, his life, his world. I saw him many times over the years, always full of energy and enthusiasm. That is how I will remember him.
Ben Leimkuhler

John Dennis said...

Gene is gone. We all knew it would happen someday, but it is still a shock.

I think the best way to remember Gene is to keep our field collegial and our research moving forward. Gene took both those things very seriously, and his contributions to both are unsurpassed.

stan osher said...

Gene Golub was a true original. I first met him in 1964 when he gave a talk at Courant as a rising star in numerical analysis. We were friends for over 40 years. He was at times cranky, irascible, outspoken, but charming and lovable through it all. Gene was perhaps the most recognizable figure in our community-in fact he was instrumental in constructing it. I spoke to him yesterday and he was quite optimistic. The world is colder and darker with his passing.

Bobby Cheng said...

Goodbye, Prof SVD. Long live your algorithm.

---Bobby Cheng

ian said...

Gene was truly a numerical analyst of the first rank, a very charming and generous man, and an American who those of us who are from other nations regarded as a citizen of the world.

David said...

I saw Gene last month in France.
Yes, he was getting older, but I
had not the least idea that I was
seeing him for the very last time.
Bon Voyage, Gene. We will all miss

David Watkins

David said...

The highest-degree hub in our small-world network has vanished with barely a warning. The greatest honor we can do Gene is to live out his example –- indeed, his passion -- in incorporating new members –- especially those trained outside of classical numerical analysis, like myself, originally an engineer –- into the scientific computing community. Everyone who had one-on-one time with Gene can probably remember the first time he came over, took out a pen, and explained a connection. He loved to catch the talks of students he hadn’t met before. The enjoyment he had in encouraging them surpassed even the enjoyment he had in teasing their elders, as in a March 2004 seminar at Columbia, in which he quizzed the faculty by name in front of the students, to the great amusement of both :-). Ah, “PROF SVD”, the first night without you has not yet wrapped the globe and your adopted family misses you terribly already. Thanks for the glorious house you built through your mathematical creativity, and thanks for telling us we belonged in it.

iain said...

I already feel a large gap in my life. For 35 years,
Gene has always been around interested to listen and
to make valuable and helpful comments. He
was a friend, colleague and like a member of the
family and his warmth, friendship and enthusiasm
have touched all whom he has met. Although
life in our subject will never be the same again we
must strive to keep the spirit of Gene alive
in our future work and interactions in numerical
linear algebra or (as Gerard has mentioned) in
matrix computations, as Gene would prefer it to
be called.

Iain Duff

Em said...

Gene Golub was a kind, generous man and a wonderful family friend. We had dinner with him not even a month ago. It's hard to believe he's gone.

Daniel Kressner said...

Gene Golub was a wonderful researcher and person whom I will always hold in high regard.

Morten said...

We will always remember your warm cheerful personality. You made Stanford a second home to us and inspired us through your worldliness. We will miss you.
- Morten and Erika Mørup

Gaurav Chopra said...

The death of Gene Golub truly comes as a shock to all of us. He was an excellent researcher and a great personality. He will be remembered always with all of us (students of ICME). This truly is a huge setback for the field and community of Numerical Linear Algebra.

o-dawg said...

Gene was a great mentor, a wonderful teacher, and a good friend. His genius amazed me and I will never forget him and his contributions. His sudden passing is shocking, and I'm glad I saw him yesterday, but I wish I could have said a lot more. He has been an inspiration to us all. I have only known Gene for 6 years, but that was long enough for him to have a dramatic impact in my life. He will be missed.
- Oren Shiran

katch wreck said...

rest in peace Gene! i want to do everything we can to remember you. i'm starting this discussion to organize my own and others' efforts to honor your memory and all the goodness that you have bestowed upon us. I miss you and I love you! It's so sad that you're gone but I know you're still out there watching out for us so thank you! No one can compare to your amazing achievements in algorithm research and engineering; the knowledge you've passed on will carry us towards tremendous heights and, for this, we're forever in your debt. But most of all your kindness and generosity touched and warmed our hearts and your smiling was always on hand to elevate our moods. Peace and bless your soul!!!!!

James Lambers said...

I met Gene almost exactly 17 years ago, when he visited Purdue while I was there as an undergrad. It was because of him that I came to Stanford to begin my academic career within the SCCM program, and years later he resurrected that career when it was in jeopardy. Whatever success I have had since meeting Gene, and will have during the remainder of my career, is a product of his profound influence. Furthermore, that influence extends far beyond scientific computing. With me, and with countless others, he was always so generous and supportive. He set high expectations for us as mathematicians and as individuals, because he believed in us and what we had to offer, even though he didn't always appreciate the fact that he himself lived up to those expectations to a greater extent than any of us could.

One would be hard-pressed to find anyone within the scientific computing community who hasn't come to Stanford at one time or another, whether they came as a student, postdoc, faculty member or visitor, and had their lives not only touched, but enhanced, by the experience of participating in the environment that Gene fostered here, beginning with Serra House and continuing with the SCCM program. But while Stanford, as an institution, has been a pillar of the scientific computing community for 50 years, as we celebrated back in March along with his 75th birthday, I personally feel that the central pillar of the community was wherever Gene was, wherever he went. Anyone who has attended one of the ICIAM meetings, that draw thousands of us from all over the world every four years, can appreciate this sentiment, for it was Gene who began that tradition.

Newton said he could see far because he stood on the shoulders of giants. Our community has lost its giant, and the void that remains is larger than any of us can fathom. Although that void could never be filled, let us honor his legacy by standing on each other's shoulders as we maintain the sense of community, and standard of excellence, that he perpetuated for so many years.

James Lambers

DU said...

He was a great professor and researcher. His letures were wonderful and passionate. We miss him.

Francisco Domínguez-Mota said...

Professor Golub's was truly an inspiration. Not only for his enormous contributions to numerical linear algebra, but also for his cheerful attitude and good humor.
We will all miss him.

Alex said...

Gene was an incredibly welcoming person. I only had the pleasure of knowing Gene for one short year, but that was plenty to realize how great and influential of a person Gene was.

I'll fondly remember his openness towards students, and warming personality. He will be sorely missed.

bruno said...

I met Gene Golub many times when I was student and I was amazed by his generous attitude towards young researchers. He was always approachable, comfortable, encouraging. I will recall him as a great person apart from his immense value as numerical analyst. Thanks and Goodbye Prof Golub.

- Bruno Carpentieri

Bob Plemmons said...

Gene was a wonderful friend and colleague. I will miss him greatly.

Anwei said...

Gene was a great teacher and professor. I took two classes taught by Gene. I couldn't find any other NLA class where so many original ideas and insights of the diversified topics were delivered during each class. I will definitely miss Gene.

HenryW said...

I first met Gene as a Masters student during his week of lectures at
Johns Hopkins University; these lectures led to the Golub-Van Loan book,
which is on my shelf at work and on my shelf at home, and which I used earlier on today.
Gene will be remembered in the way I am sure he would want to be, i.e.
by all his beautiful/powerful mathematics.
Henry Wolkowicz

Linzhong said...

Gene was a great scientist and a super advisor. He left his footprints in every corner of my life. His divine thought inspire me a lot.

I visited Gene yestory afternoon. He looks ok except very tired. I planed to celebrate Thanksgives with Gene last night. I never thought it is the last time I met with him.

I knew this sad news this morning in Indina's office when I was discussing with Indina about Gene's health. Both of us were shocked very much by this unexpected sad news.

I will miss Gene forever.

Michael said...

I last saw Gene in September at the NLA Workshop in Monopoli, Italy hosted by Nicola Mastronardi. Gene was in good spirits and offered great insights and suggestions to all of us. Gene has always been a special person in my life as he helped connect me to important applications of numerical linear algebra. Like Einstein, Gene will always be credited with many of the fundamental theories of his discipline. He truly was (and always will be in my book) Dr. SVD.
As I glance at the various editions of "Matrix Computations" on my bookshelf, I will be eternally grateful for Gene's contributions to our field. He was our teacher, colleague, and friend. Gene we will miss you.

Doug said...

I had the privilege of learning numerical linear algebra under Gene.

I will remember fondly the smile on his face as I shook his hand and wished him a Happy Birthday this past March at Stanford 50.

God Speed Gene.

PS For those of you who don't know, Gene had both PROF SVD and DR SVD license plates ... I still get a kick out of that.

Michele Benzi said...

Thank you Gene for all the things
you have taught me over the years
and especially for all the great
encouragement you have given me at
critical moments in my career.
Your work and the community you
have done so much to build will be
a lasting monument to your memory.

I will miss you greatly.

--Michele Benzi

john said...

When my daughters, Emmeline and Lisette and I met at Stanford three weeks ago, we got lucky --- Gene, who was between travels, was actually in town.

We met that evening at a Menlo Park restaurant for dinner and spent a pleasant evening with this remarkable and gentle intellectual giant.

These are words that describe our easy and happy meetings with Gene. There are no words to describe the deep sadness of having to say goodbye.

Steven said...

Gene Golub was a very special person. My wife and I first met Gene when we visited Stanford in 1977. He has been a close friend and mentor for thirty years. He played an important role in my life. It is hard to envision a world without Gene. I will miss him very much.

Steve Leon

Frank Luk said...

Here are some pictures of Gene on October 31, 2007, in Hong Kong:

Gene stayed with me in Hong Kong for three nights, and we had a memorable time together.

I remember Gene’s last night (November 5) in Hong Kong vividly. He needed to buy underwear, and the sales person in the department store tried very hard to find the XXXL size (sizes are smaller in Hong Kong). Gene then wanted spicy food, and so we went to a restaurant that offers Szechwan dishes. He loved the string beans, and he drank a San Miguel beer.

michelarz said...

There are not enought words to describe my feeling. Only a great, sad loss.
Goodbye Gene

-- Michela

Om said...

Gene was a great teacher and an equally great person - very helpful and generous. It was a great opportunity to learn under his guidance. And the way he kept himself going right till the end is indeed an inspiring example.
Miss you Gene.

Claude Brezinski said...

I met Gene at the first congress I attended in July 1972. We have been friends since. I lost a grear friend and the numerical analysis community a great leader in the many senses of the word. We will all miss him.

Claude Brezinski

Ivan Slapnicar said...

Great person, great mathematican, great listener, huge energy, huge enthusiasm, huge love for his work. Gene, you left us so much knowledge and so many fond memories. Without you as a reference point, the world is different. You will be an inspiration for generations to come. Goodbye!


Eric said...

Gene taught me so much, and this fall was teaching my son as well. Such sad news. Eric

Joerg Liesen said...

I met Gene for the first time 10 years ago in Oxford, having just started to work on my PhD. He provided inspiration for my work and career advice ever since.
Working with Gene indeed was a priviledge, and I'm thankful to have the Golub Number 1.

His care and involvement extended way beyond academics. Over the years he became a family friend. My wife and our oldest son met him on several occasions and he visited
us at home. Gene seemed to really like children and he was so considerate of their needs and interests. While in Stanford, he took us out to a kid-friendly restaurant, and he brought kids T-shirts (in the correct sizes!) as gifts when he visited.

It will take more time to think about ways to honor Gene. It will definitely include honoring his ingenuity and mathematical intuition, and carrying on his spirit of collegiality and friendship.

Gene, we will miss you.


Bob said...

Gene was a wonderful colleague and friend. He will leave a hole in the scientific computing community that will be difficult to fill. He was a source of encouragement for all researchers, but particularly those young and new to the field. I appreciate very much the encouragement he gave me. I count it a blessing to have known him. He will be missed greatly.

Bob Ward

Martin said...

When Gene came to Oxford this spring I was prepared to meet a great mathematician, which I did. But more importantly I met a great person. Gene became my friend, he was very generous and friendly and just "fun to hang out with". He doubled the amount of coffee I drank but at the same time tripled the projects I was working on.

His loss seems so sudden and unexpected, I just sent him an email thanking for the present he gave for the birth of my son and we wanted to skype and talk about my visit in Stanford next April.

I can hardly believe that he is gone and will truly miss him.

I am sure wherever he is now, he will gather people for coffee, talk about the serendipity of science and will make everyone feel happier.

mel_in_bath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tunococ said...

First I was shocked with the news that Gene was in hospital, but this is far beyond my expectation. I just wrote in the "Get Well" card, then he passed away. I'm deeply sorry for the loss.

He was one of the greatest persons in our time. I can still remember how he talked about things in the class. He was kind and inspiring. I believe everybody misses him (at least) as much as I do.

melina said...

Gene was a great scientist and a wonderful warm-hearted human being with great humor, a role model for everyone. He will truly be missed.

Timo said...

My first encounter with Gene was at Dundee 2003 as a first year Ph.D. student. We were four Oxford students and did not know whether we could just go and talk to him. Gene made it easy for us and here is the result.

When I visited him in Stanford this January it was a truly remarkable experience. I will always remember his kindness and hospitality.

We will miss you Gene.

Timo and Marta

dirk said...

Dear Gene, thank you for all the lovely conversations, the listening and inspiration. We will certainly remember your very human side. Thank you for self inviting yourself for my home cooked dinner and thank you for entertaining my daughter every time! I guess we won't see you in January now. We will miss you.

Dirk, Sarah & Liene.

Wang said...

Gene was a very nice person. He was a leader and contributed so much in his field.

Paul said...

He was our Gene. I don't want to share him. But he taught me to loosen my grip on selfishness and so again I am stumbling for all to see and Gene
tells me to watch out and asks Are you OK? Gene, how can you ask Am I OK? There is a knife in my heart.

Paul Saylor

Ken Hayami said...

Thank you Gene for your warmth, interest and encouragements from time to time. We will miss you so.

Ken Hayami

Dan said...

When I first met Gene, he immediately introduced me to several other people and pointed out research interests that we had in common. He was not only a great numerical analyst and a friendly gregarious person. but he was a great research catalyst. He will be greatly missed personally and professionally.

-- Dan Warner

kitina said...

Ci mancherai.
Cristina e Stefano

aftermath said...

As a young man, Gene invited me to speak at Cedar House. It happened to be my birthday and Gene served a birthday cake with a grid icing apropos the lecture. This marked the beginning of my career. Gene’s passing is nothing short of a seismic event in the annals of numerical analysis. Paul Swarztrauber

cbekas said...

I had never met Gene. But I knew him! We all did!

There is no doubt that even future NAers that have not even been born yet ... will get to know Gene.

I was so eager to host him in our lab in Zurich this comming week, and finally get to know him in person as well. But now...

In my ancient language, his name, Gene, means so much, but above all kindness.

Ελαφρύ το χώμα που θα σε σκεπάσει Ευγένειε.

Costas Bekas

Daniela Calvetti said...

The warmest memory that I have of Gene goes back to the semester that I spent at Stanford in 1995, when my children - then 6 and 9 - got to be his pals, and had no fear of asking him all kind of questions. He always answered, saying that this was only fair, since he always asked all kind of questions himself. Since then Gene became their adopted relative, and the news of his death has been no less of a blow for them than for me. When I saw him for the last time in Zurich at ICIAM, he said that he had missed seeing me at the usual haunts and asked about the children. We made plans to catch up with each other more frequently in the future. Little we knew that time was running out so fast. Gene often ended his email messages to me with 'Take care of yourself and love to the children'. I like to think that he has left for yet another of his trips, so:
Take care of yourself and love from the children, Gene!


urmiholz said...

In 1992 when Gene agreed to be my PhD advisor, I'm sure he had no idea it would be 10 years of on-and-off work before I fnished. All those meetings in his office with my kids in their strollers will remain such fond memories for me, and I will always be grateful for his patience, cheerfulness, and encouragement in seeing me through those years and finally pushing me out at the end! Miss you, Gene.

Petter said...

I met Gene the first time during the summer of 1995 when he was a visitor at ETH Zurich. I was a young student in mathematics, studying for the Diplommathematiker exam (e.g. MS in mathematics). Gene showed such a great joy interacting with me and other young students. He would sometimes join us for lunch or dinner, eager to hear about what we were working on or just to talk about life. Students around the world will miss you, Gene -- and, a whole community will miss you.

Petter Kolm

famarc said...

When I visited Stanford, in 1999, I realized that inside a leading researcher like Gene there was an even more wonderful person. In the following years, few occasions but the same, so evident, impression. Thank you Gene, I will never forget!

honorall said...

My soul cries out to each of you. Gene had a special bright light in him and love for people that was only strengthened by his knowledge and understanding of many levels.

His light may seem extinguished to our eyes but in our souls he has etched a powerful life force that can never be lessened. He has not left us; he has just gone to a higher grid. He had the ability to “see” in us our own light and fostered us on so many levels.

Yes, we are hurting and will long to hear him, touch him and just share with him again but may think, in our sadness and loss that he is not accessible anymore. If you listen with your soul he will still speak with you…just in a different way. His light will continue to shine through all of us. With all our lights shining we will light up a grid for all to see, as Gene is the switch that opens the circuit.

I pray healing and peace for each of you as you remember this great LIGHT. I am honored for the privilege to read each of your heart felt postings. (Your praise, memories and even your true feelings of pain and loss) Draw from each other and Genes light and make the best of the many gifts Gene has given us…including each other. We must continue his work, on all levels, he choose each one of us and is counting on us! When you are ready, shine brighter than ever, in honor of Gene.

Respectfully yours in the spirit of Gene,

raytuminaro said...

I too am greatly saddened by Gene's passing. He certainly taught me a great deal about numerical analysis and linear algebra. While I greatly value his scientific contributions and all that I learned from him, his warmth and our friendship are foremost in my thoughts. As Thanksgiving approaches, I can't help but think of warm Thanksgiving dinners at Gene's house and the lively social atmosphere that Gene inspired. I'll miss him greatly.

Yuan said...

I met Gene in 1992 at first time. He corrected English word by word of my Ph. Thesis. After that we become friends. I remember that we walked in Stanford campos many times to talk about career, family, life and all interesting things together. He always gave me encouragement, advices of research and teaching. Also he supported my daughter's tuition fee. He was excelent researcher, wonderful professor, closed friend. We shared good time and bad time. He always called me to Stanford when he didn't feel very well or he went to Hong Kong. He always called me Brazilian, but not Chinese. I and my family will miss him definitely for long time.
Gene, we miss you!!!!!

Yuan Jin Yun

Zhisu Zhu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zhisu Zhu said...

Gene was a wonderful teacher and an incredibly kind, generous man. His lectures on numerical linear algebra were the best I have ever seen. I miss him.

Sou Cheng said...

I feel very fortunate to be one of the few students Gene has graduated this year. I regret that I have let work pulled me away in the past few months and missed visiting Gene on Thursday—I had meant to tell Gene that I have felt home again at work this week when I managed to compute SVD in Oracle's database; and that I am pleased to read his last post in the NA Digest about Michael's honor, and in turn hearing from Michael about Gene's honorary degree from ETH.

I have a lot of memories with Gene
and the latest from Stanford 50 this March are among the fondest of all, as Gene was in such high spirits throughout the conference. I couldn't help but look up the photos again, in which Gene was beaming like dazzling sunshine: Opening, Banquet 1, Banquet 2, With Cleve, Students, Mega-group, Closing.
A lot of us have participated in and will remember these enchanting moments with Gene, among many other memories that we could savor for many years to come.

Gene has been a large part of my life since the beginning of this millennium and will always be alive in my memories.

chris said...

Gene was always generous
and much, much larger than life.
He brought so many of us together and
nurtured this wonderful community.
He was the heart of it and
we knew he'd always be there ---
but now he isn't, and I,
like others out there, am crying.

Chris Paige.

Philip said...

Like so many others here, I feel lucky to have got to know Gene. We lived on different continents and were from different generations, but it was wonderful to be able to pick up our conversations whenever we met.

Thank you Gene for your time, hospitality, encouragement and most of all your friendship.

Phil Knight

Danny said...

I will never forget when I met Gene for the first time. Back in 1984 during a break in a seminar in Leuven, we stood as freshly new ph.d. students in a small group, somewhat shy in the presence of the famous names that we knew from our text books, when Gene walked up to us and asked what our research interests were. That day, he did not only give me the direction for my ph.d. thesis, he also taught me by example the
importance and the power of sharing experience and helping young people getting started. I've tried to honour this lesson since then.

In the autumn and winter of 1988, Marjan an I spend 6 unforgettable months at Stanford. We still carry and nourish the memories of the
friendship and hospitality that Gene provided us and all other visitors.
With Thankgiving coming up, I recall vividly the image
of Gene happy as a child when we gave him his first Christmas tree ever and later that evening proudly serving a giant turkey
he had prepared.

Since then, touching down at SFO airport has always felt a bit like returning home. It will never be the same anymore.

Gene, I feel privileged that I've been able to work with you, and much more that I've had the opportunity to know you as a warm
and caring friend. Rest in peace.

Danny and Marjan Goovaerts-Van Lint, Griet, Heleen, Charlotte

sturler said...

Gene was a wonderful mentor to so many young numerical analysts, and he was very helpful to me at several times in my career. He was also a wonderful and kind host on many occasions. Alice and I are shocked at his sudden departure. I will fondly remember the visits to Stanford, especially the summer of 1997, which Alice and I spent at Stanford on his invitation. Gene always said, “Every numerical analyst has a second home in Stanford.” Yesterday we lost a home.

-- Eric de Sturler

Elena said...

Prof. SVD,

I will always remember your hospitality and friendship and I'll be always thankful to Paul and Cindy for giving me the chance to meet you.
That week of August in 2006, when I met you, had changed my life.

Thank you!
Elena Caraba

philippe.caussignac said...

I did not know Gene personally, but I was very impressed by one of his talk at a workshop in Minneapolis in 1985. He was able to explain numerical analysis to mathematicians not specialized in the topic. Of course, I immediately feeled he was a great man. Some years ago, I posted a question on Na-net about statistics, and the only and pertinent answer I got was from Gene. I am very sad for his death and believe he will miss for a long time to the numerical analysts community.
Philippe Caussignac

Ofer said...

I've never met anyone who gets so much joy from giving and helping others as much as Gene did. I have never met anyone who is so important yet so accesible to everyone and especially to the young and junior as Gene was.
It's so hard to accept the sudden unexpected loss of Gene but at the same time I find some comfort in the fact that he was strong and coherent with endless energies and passion until his very last days and that his suffering from the horible disease was relatively short.
I will always feel so proud and fortunate to have had the chance to get to know Gene as a teacher, a friend and a most wonderful, warm hearted and special person.
Rest in peace Gene...
Ofer Levi, Israel

Homer Walker said...

Gene gave me much-needed encouragement at a critical time of my life, and I will always be grateful for that. He was a man of outsized humanity and intellect whose influence will be felt long after we who knew him are gone.

Achi said...

I was invited by Gene to his home last week. An hour before our meeting he called to say that he did not feel so well and that we should postpone our lunch together. "I will write you soon", his voice was warm as ever...

Instead... what a painful surprise.

I met Gene four decades ago at the Courant Institute, and like many others, instantly became his friend. Over the years, our work has been almost orthogonal to each other, but I have long regarded him as the leading person of our field, and really loved him.

Achi Brandt

Dan said...

This was such an unexpected shock. Gene was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. Whatever professional success I have had I owe to him. He was also a great friend. I will miss you Gene!!

- Dan Boley

Charles said...

I was planning to visit Gene in January so that we might carry
forward our work on the fourth edition. Now, as I look at my notes
from our last exchange and all those marked up chapters, I can only think of Gene the person and all the good times associated with
our 30-year collaboration. The sense of loss is great, the passing of a true family member who cared and made things possible.

Charlie Van Loan

Nilima said...

bxOn Friday morning, we heard Gene was ill with AML. By the evening, we heard he was gone. This is absolutely shocking news. However, even in the speed with which word of his illness spread, one can find Gene- a genuine community builder and a true "mensch", for whom so many felt genuine affection. By Friday afternoon, there were probably few numerical analysis groups which hadn't heard about this awful news, and felt saddened, because there are few numerical analysts who don't know Gene.

For someone with such seminal and varied contributions to numerical analysis, Gene retained a deeply personal approach to the field. He seemed to know everyone working in the area- the older experts, the younger students, simply everyone. The importance of his warmth and encouragement to the lives of the young members of this community cannot be exaggerated.

I stayed at his place once in early 2002, since Paul and I were there for Paul's PhD defence. Half a world across, many months later, we met again at ICIAM in Sydney. Not only did he recognize me, he took up our conversation on matrix techniques for electromagnetics as if there had been no gap. Left me speechless!

Goodbye, Gene. May the coffee be excellent where you are.

Anita Mathias said...

When Gene had dinner with us at our home in Oxford this summer, we little realized that this was the last time we'd meet this gracious, congenial, brilliant, entertaining man. When we arrived at Stanford, where my husband Roy Mathias was Gene's post-doctoral student, blissfully newly-wed, and forgetful of mundanities like finding accommodation, Gene had us stay at his lovely house for ten days, and introduced us to some good books, and even better Chinese food! Talking to him was always refreshing and stimulating The world has truly lost a great person, and is the poorer for it.
Anita Mathias

Ed Seidel said...

Gene, I have felt so privileged to know you for many years of my career. I will miss you.

qye said...

Words can't express my
sorrow over sudden passing
of Gene. I'll forever
remember Gene as an
inspring and visionery
community leader and a kind
and caring gentleman and
friend. It's painful to
realize that I won't hear
him saying: "Here is an
interesting problem. So
and so have done ... "
(probably some time before
I was born), or "Are you
okay? You look tired."
Goodbye, Gene.

Qiang Ye

Lotti in UK said...

I only got to know Gene this summer when he came to Oxford. I had just started my new job with the Numerical Analysis Group and didn't even know who Gene Golub was. All I got told was that he was famous and a very important visitor. Also I got warned that he might create some extra work for me.

When Gene left after the summer I knew him much better and I had experienced what an impact he made on his students, colleagues and friends, near him and all over the world. - And I had enjoyed every single bit of the "extra work" he had created, because I enjoyed having Gene around and being part of his life. That's how he made me feel anyway, and he was always so appreciative for every little thing I did for him.

I'm grateful I got to know you, Gene, and I am missing you, too!


Niu said...

Before, I always feel it would be a great honor to have a chance to see you and talk with you, then my dream comes true last summer vacation. Gene gave us a lecture at Guangzhou-Hongkong NLA summer school, it's painful that this becomes the first and the last chance I can see you. Gene is a very kind friendly guider, I remember you talked with everyone at that time. I believe it is a great encouragement for us. I would remember your words,
Miss you for ever..

Joe said...

Gene Golub died around 9AM this Friday morning
November 16, at the age of 75, after a sudden
turn for the worse in his health. His career
spanned almost the entire history of postwar
numerical analysis, to which he made seminal
contributions, among which are beautiful
algorithms that have proven to be of great
importance in matrix and statistical computations.
Not the least of his contributions is the legacy
of congeniality in gatherings both internationally
and at his beloved Stanford University. I can
see him in his office or home surrounded by
students and younger researchers and hear him
tell me that this interaction was what he cherished
most. Yet when living memory of him passes, the
algorithms he created will continue to be used,
probably indefinitely.

Philipp said...

On his trip to China two weeks ago, Gene had apparently gotten a flue, which was readily fixed by a doctor with antibiotics. However, his condition got worse nevertheless, he was feeling generally unwell and in particular his legs hurt very much. On Sunday, I drove him to the hospital, where they thought that he had a trombosis from the long distance flight and kept him there for further tests. Still, he was hoping he could fly to Zürich on Wednesday, as he was very excited about the honorary degree the ETH was going to award him. On Tuesday, they diagnosed Leukemia. They gave him a life expectancy of half a year if he chose a light treatment or much longer if he opted for a four weeks chemotherapy. His situation worsened unexpected and dramatically during the night from thursday to friday and he passed away in the morning in the presence of some of his best friends.

During his stay at the hospital, countless people called and when you visited him, either the mobile or the regular phone rang often. He was definitely very happy about that.

I only got to know him better since this summer, but already during this short time I realized that his generosity and kindness were extraordinary. The selflessness with which he helped and his faith in people that alone inspired to go beyond yourself will be greatly missed. I am still shocked.

Philipp Birken

Michael said...

NEWS ITEM from Stanford.

It's touching beyond words to read all the heartfelt messages. Everyone will have wondered how Gene's illness and passing could happen so suddenly. We are deeply sorry not to have been able to alert more than a small and random sample of Gene's innumerable friends. I had thought of writing to the Stanford50/GHG75 conference list, but it felt alarmist to do so. Gene's own NA-Digest would have reached most of you more surely, but again our sense the urgency failed.

As he often did, Gene caught us by surprise. We don't know what truly happened (medically) early Friday morning. Leah and Lawrence Friedman were called about 4am. The doctors initially had little hope, but they "threw the kitchen sink" at Gene and for a moment felt they had saved him. I believe Gene revived enough to talk with Leah and Lawrence. He knew that his dearest friends were with him, and how precious he was to them. Then he went downhill again, never to recover.

To those who sent email to Gene during the last week, we can only feel sorrow again that we didn't manage to get his laptop going in this of all places, the middle of Silicon Valley. After each rough night, Gene seemed in no shape to deal with the laptop even if it had been working, yet at other times he was alert and his dear old self. We should have asked for his password and printed lots of emails at our own office, for he would surely have been able to read them and feel the love coming from afar.

The tears came yesterday when I thought of the beautiful photo album from the Stanford50 conference that Gene will never see. Holly Jin had almost finished
it a few weeks ago, and Gene's illness was a spur for Holly to try and finish it this weekend. We hope it can be on show at a memorial service some weeks from now.

Out of concern for bringing more sad news to his brother and wife, Gene waited till Thursday before calling Alvin and explaining the plan: four weeks of chemotherapy beginning the next day (Friday).
Alvin scolded Gene for not calling sooner, and resolved to fly from Chicago next day. He received the sad news from Lawrence Friday morning before boarding the plane.

Alvin asked that Gene be sent to Chicago for a funeral this coming Tuesday November 20. He will be laid to rest beside his mother, niece, and nephew.

Gene, we are the lucky ones who could see you this past week in hospital. We had confidence in your ability to bounce back. For all your hundreds of other friends, you were torn away with shocking suddenness. We know you wanted to talk to them all at least one more time.

We hurt to know that true happiness eluded you most of your life. We dearly hope that you're now in a peaceful and joyful place. Please keep watching over us as we try to follow your best and brightest examples.

So sorry to miss our business class adventure to Zurich, where today you should have received yet another honorary degree. Warmest congratulations anyway. Walter Gander promised that they would still have it there for you next year.

Goodbye now dearest Gene. We can't imagine the seminars and lunch meetings without you.

Your student always,
Michael Saunders

धनंजय देव said...

I am the student of his book, I always wanted to listen him lecture those concepts, but that wish will remain only as a dream,

May the god rest his soul in peace.

-Dhanannjay Deo

Erik said...

This memorial blog shows how many friends Gene had all over the world, and how many lives he touched. I was fortunate enough to be part of his "Stanford family" for several years, and experience his warmth and hospitality up close. Although at the time I was focused on learning matrix computations (aka numerical linear algebra) and related subjects, the community building he led is perhaps the greatest lesson. He is already greatly missed.

Michael Neumann said...

Gene Golub was to visit our Math Dept at the Univ of Connecticut in 3 weeks time to give us a colloquium. We have planned a reception and parties to honor him. Alas, sadly, this was not to be.

I have known Gene for 38 years, ever since I was a PhD student in London, when he visited NPL. Already then he gave much support to young people.

Gene's legacy will be his work and his friends.

Margot said...

I loved Gene for his generosity, genuine warmth, hospitality and support.
There is so much to say about him, but Jim Lambers and Mike Saunders have captured my feelings already very well, so I leave it up to their more capable writing to express the hurt and sense of loss.

Very sad, and with much gratitude,


Aaron said...

I recall when I first met Prof. SVD -- I knew that I simply had to take advantage of the opportunity to meet him, but I was just as sure that the encounter would cordial and short.

Much to my surprise, I found someone who was immediately interested in me, my work, the research environment in Israel, etc., giving me his undivided attention, even though there were many other, more important numerical analysts with whom to converse.

I hope I can take that life-lesson with me, in all of my conversations.

Aaron Naiman

Andy Wathen said...

Gene and I were walking around the beautiful campus of Xiamen University in China just over a week ago wheere he was the highlighted speaker at the East Asian SIAM meeting. He was really there just his old self doing the things he loved best: meeting new and old colleagues, encouraging the young people and enjoying the Chinese food!

I will miss Gene a great deal, but am happy to know that he was doing what he appreciated most until right near to the end

Andy Wathen

Paul Tupper said...

I am grateful to Gene for many reasons.
Although Gene was not my advisor, he offered to pay for my tuition one quarter just to help me along. He offered me his house when I came to Stanford to defend my thesis, and also gave me his shaving cream. He's bought me numerous meals and offered me many pieces of avuncular advice. Maybe most importantly he provided for me an accessible example of what a first rate researcher is. I learned a lot from him.

gregboutry said...

I first met him in Marrakech, he invited ma for a year. The most wonderful year I passed for a long time. He gave me so much energy, that he looks like younger than me. He was so kind, i am very proud to have known him. I will never forget you, Gene, l miss you. I will never forget walks, restaurant and so much diner at your home...

We are all alone without you, you were a great father, that takes care of us and show us ways to use.

Wherever you are, you will be forever a guide.

i miss you so much now.


Alistair Watson said...

I first met Gene in 1970 in Dundee, He became a great supporter of the Conferences and it was good he was able to be at the final one earier this year. Gene was always kind and helpful to me, and, like so many others, I will miss him greatly.


eric4085422780 said...

I am Marian Concus, daughter of Paul and Celia Concus. My parents tell me that when I was an infant, Gene would carry me around on his shoulder. As a child, I remember Gene bringing me chocolate frogs from the bakery. Gene, I will miss seeing your happy face at family gatherings. I will miss knowing that even as an adult, your shoulder was there to lean on if I needed it.

Dov Bai said...

I have vivid and warm memories of Gene from my postdoc years at Stanford over 20 years ago. He was supportive and encouraging. An excellent teacher, his lectures intellectually stimulating.

Aditya Mittal said...

My most inspiring teacher...for the short time I knew Gene, whenever I talked to him I felt elevated. He will always live on with us through his words and with others through his works.

SunShine said...

I'm very lucky to be one of Gene's students. Although I only know him for a short time, I'm deeply moved by his passion for research and teaching students.

He was always bright when he appeared in this quarter's course, so that now I still feel unreal about his leaving.

Gene is a real gentleman. I will miss him all my life.


eric4085422780 said...

Dear Gene, our long term family friend and colleague,
We'll miss you. Our lives will be emptier now. Sadly, we say goodbye.
Paul and Celia Concus

Sabine Van Huffel said...

Gene you were the father of my career, you inspired my research on total least squares, initiated and dominated the 4 workshops I organized with you (last workshop in the summer of 2006). You offered me this great opportunity in the fall of 2000 to teach biomathematics at Stanford University. It greatly influenced my career! I will never forget your excitation, great inspiration, your social character, your warmth, your friendship... You always shared your ideas with young scientists and students, I believe that this open attitude lies at the basis of the open, nice and friendly atmosphere I always feel in the numerical analysis community. We lost a great father, we will miss you, Gene, thanks for all you did!!

Sabine Van Huffel

Valia said...

When some years ago I had the opportunity to speak with Gene for the first time, he told me he would like to visit Cuba and from this moment I have organized his probable visit several times in my mind, I have though each detail and how to show him what we have learnt from his papers and books and from the digital materials that he had sent us. Today, I am very sad because he is gone and my dream won't be possible. Thank you Gene for your inmense energy, intelligence and goodness.
Valia Guerra

Joos said...

Dear Gene,

We feel very sad to hear that you left us so suddenly. At the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium a whole team of researchers and PhD students (present and former) owes a lot to you: untiring and very valuable inspiration and mentorship, warm feelings about research on SVD and its role in society, the sense of belonging to your wide scientific community. We feel priviliged that you have obtained a Doctor Honoris Causa at our university.
We will miss your regular visits here. But you will continue to live in our minds and our hearts,
In the whole world many of us will feel happy to continue the work on the methods and with the spirit that you gave us so generously.

Joos Vandewalle

Jim Daniel said...

I arrived at Stanford in 1962, a green kid from a tiny college. The following year I had the good fortune of taking the first graduate numerical analysis class Gene taught---along with several folks that went on to distinguished careers in the field. Gene hooked me on numerical analysis; although he was not my dissertation adviser, I always considered myself one of his students. Even after I left the field, I benefitted from his friendship and counsel.

It was a delight to help celebrate his "18th" birthday at Alan Cline's house not quite four years ago, the last time I saw Gene. As always, he was charming and interested in my life, family, and activities. It's hard to believe that there will be no more parties at Gene's house for visiting speakers---I first heard both Jefferson Airplane and Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys on Gene's stereo at one of those parties!

Farewell old friend.

Jim Daniel

Zhaojun Bai said...

Dear Gene; I am one of the lucky one who could see you before you left us. Your spirit and smiles will be in my heart forever. Your Friend, Zhaojun Bai

Michael said...

To Gene from Niomi

Dear Gene,

I was planning to come and see
you today, but I got the bad
news from Michael that you are
no longer here. I looked after
your house for 17 years, I helped pack your suitcase when you were traveling, I moved things to the garage when people were coming to stay. You will be in my heart, you will be always missed.

Love, Niomi

ldj said...

I am possibly Gene's oldest friend - dating back to when Gene was a post-doc at Cambridge University, 1959. Later on Gene was to say this was one happy and productive year both academically and socially. When he was at the Berkeley Rad Lab he enabled me to take up graduate studies in Physics at Berkeley - eventually he became more and more eminent but his friendship and generosity of spirit grew ever larger.

I grieve at the news - while in England recently he looked so well.

Truly - Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Laurance JACOBS

Grace said...

Gene was a dear friend and mentor from the time we met while I was a grad student in the 60's. Gene, we will miss you terribly.

Xiao-Wen said...

Like many people, I got a lot of encouragement from Gene, which was so important to my carrier. I had a wonderful sabbatical leave at Stanford two years ago, which I won't forget. Thanks Gene. I'll miss you.

Xiao-Wen Chang

Alex said...

Professor Golub was a great scientist, a wonderful human being and an inspiring teacher.
His lectures were a joy to attend.

Efstratios said...

Gene was an extraordinary scientist, teacher and friend.
I treasure conversations and recollections, from Urbana in the 80's to Dagstuhl this past February. In preparing to teach Monday's SciComp class, I know this time will be sorely different. But still, he will always be here, cited over and again.

So long dear Gene and thank you
Stratis Gallopoulos

david gries said...

My wife, Elaine, and I met Gene Golub when I joined CS at Stanford as an assistant professor in 1966. We left Stanford in 1969, but that did not stop us from continuing to correspond once with Gene once in a while and to look forward to our sporadic meetings.

A great scientist, a warm and personal man, a wonderful friend, just a nice guy. We will miss him.

David Gries

Hua said...

One month ago I met with Gene in Marseille for the last time, I ever asked him how to cook the raw eggs when I had breakfast by his side. He always called me 'guy' with smile. He is very kind to the young people. To me, he is really a very nice old man. But all happened so suddenly. I will miss him.

Paul said...

Dear Gene,

I am always proud to tell the story how my career started when I first met you : you had so much influence on many young researchers and their future was always one of your main concerns. Thanks for all of them.

We will miss you!

Paul Van Dooren

W.Hoffmann said...

During the Academic year 1976-'77 I stayed as a visiting researcher
at Stanford where Gene got me a desk in the old Serra House,
the world's SVDHQ as it was labeled in that time.
That year was of major influence in the
lifes of my wife and me: Thank you Gene.
Walter Hoffmann

G.Steidl said...

Gene was a wonderful colleague. We will miss him.
Gabriele Steidl

Wendy said...

Unlike most other posters, I know hardly anything about Numerical Analysis. I met Gene when I was a post-grad student in another subject at Stanford in 1961, and he became a good friend. We tried to meet when he passed through the UK - usually to eat and/or do a theatre. His conversation was such a pleasure, and the breadth of his contacts throughout the world was astounding.

In your latest interest you praised listening to books on your iPod; were you really 75?

Gene - you seemed to be a permanent presence - there wil now be a big hole.

Serge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daniele said...

Gene, thanks for your encouragement and our discussions.
I will not forget.

Have a nice trip.

Daniele Bertaccini

Martin said...

Gene left us unexpectedly last Friday, just one day before he was scheduled to get honored here at ETH Zurich. It was a real shock.
So Saturday was the first of the many days we will miss him. We will also miss the opportunity to pass back his enormous generosity, which typically started with the words "I am Gene" that he said when meeting (often much younger) colleagues for the first time. In my case this happened in 1974 in Zurich, where it was not yet very common to be on a first name basis with a famous professor. Soon after that, Gene suggested and supported my application for a postdoc position with Jim Varah in Vancouver. Lots of other generosities followed over the years. Like for so many others, Gene became a close personal friend who showed a continuous interest in the well-being of me and my family.

I am also indebted to Gene for enumerable pointers for my research work, including some in the last email he sent me. Unfortunately, there will be no longer a chance to follow up on them jointly.

Thanks for all your generosity and friendship Gene.

Martin Gutknecht

Serge said...

I first met Gene Golub at the 1st ICIAM conference in Paris. I was still a graduate student and I was so impressed to discuss with the author of so many papers I was reading for my research, that Francoise Chatelin, who wrote a report on this ICIAM conference for SIAM news, explicitly mentioned a French student who said with enthusiasm “I talked with Gene Golub!”. I also do remember the time he chaired a session where I presented my postdoctoral researches at a conference in the Courant Institute. At the end of my talk he asked me so many questions! Then, he invited me to his table at the conference banquet and encouraged me to continue my research and introduced me to several future colleagues. I have often met Gene the following years and I saw how important it was for him to help young researchers. His role in the community was unique and I will always remember him.

Serge Petiton

erik said...

Two weeks ago I had never heard of prof. Golub. During my current FEM project I needed to get acquainted with eigenvectors and other matrix stuff and (of course ?) stumbled over his book "Matrix Computations" (Golub & van Loan). I decided it was the one book I really needed on my desk...

Arieh said...

Gene was one of the greats of numerical analysis, this goes without saying. He was also one of the unique, one-off characters of our craft. However, beyond all his mathematical and computational achievements and honours was Gene the human being. And to those of us who were fortunate to be his friends, this was the most marvellous thing about Gen.

For Gene the numerical analysis community was his extended family. His generosity knew no bounds, in particular toward research students and postdocs. As did his emotional involvement and sense of justice. Once he perceived that a wrong has been done, or that one of his colleagues or friends didn't live up to Gene's (very demanding) expectations, he spoke out. In a very true manner he was the conscience of numerical analysis.

It is simply not true that nobody is irreplaceable.

Bill said...

Gene was a wonderful teacher and researcher. He was incredibly generous, taking care of his "family" in numerical analysis. Even though Gene was not my advisor, he mentored and helped me through my career, as he did for so many of us. We have lost one of our guiding lights.

Wilfried Gansterer said...

Beyond being a giant in research, Gene was a wonderful teacher, giving inspiration and motivation, as well as a great human being. I consider myself lucky having had some chances to experience that. His way of interacting with students and young researchers was really remarkable and exemplary.

Thank you for everything, Gene.

Hongyuan Zha said...

Gene is a great mentor and friend. He brought me to to Stanford as a graduate student and I feel extremely fortunate to finish my Ph.D. under his guidance. He helped me all along in my career and personal life. He's inspiring, generous and warm. A fine human being.

I will miss him dearly,


Paul said...

There is a Chicago Tribune notice in:

Paul Saylor

gilbert said...

I first met Gene in the fall of 1968 when he visited Alston Householder at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Alston invited me to his office where Gene and I spent an hour or so talking about numerical analysis. I don't remember what was said. It was certainly not about my thesis, for at the time I was in grope mode and didtn't have a well formulated problem. I do remember that the very next day I came up with the idea that was to become my thesis. It was no coincidence but Gene's enthusiam working in me.

I'm sure many others must have had similar experiences. Our field will be much poorer for his absence.

Pete Stewart

Svante Littmarck said...

That was too soon.
I will miss you very much Gene.


Henryk Wozniakowski said...

I am shocked to learn about
Gene's death. Gene was so special.
All of us will miss him so much.
Goodgye Gene

-- Henryk Wozniakowski

Suzanne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanne said...

Gene was a sweet man. I enjoyed our many visits and will miss him. On February 29, 2008, I'll raise my glass to remember him on his "leap year" birthday.


Michael said...

I was one of the fortunate few to speak with Gene the day before he died. He sounded shell-shocked by his diagnosis, but his characteristic sense of humor was alive and well. Like everyone else, I was stunned by the news of his death the next day.

Gene was a great man and a great scientist. His impact on numerical linear algebra in particular, and scientific computing more broadly, was enormous. But as these postings show, his biggest impact was on individual people of all kinds. Speaking for myself, he surely had more impact on me than anyone else did, excluding only my own family. What is amazing is that so many people feel this way. So many fond memories, so many great stories. We will never forget him.

Michael Overton

Jam said...

I will miss him. He was a sweet man and had always been so kind to me.
Jam K

jack said...

Gene will continues to be an inspiration to us all and his strong presence will be greatly missed. For me he was a mentor, colleague, and friend. I miss my friend.

Jack Dongarra

Austin Dubrulle said...

I met Gene in 1971, when I moved to Palo Alto. In no time, it was as if I had known him for decades. His kindness and generosity had that effect. I knew of him in the 1960s for his paper on the solution of least-squares problems, and from his Parisian friend David Feingold, who upon learning of my going to America in 1967, told me, “Eh-mon-vieux, you must meet Gene. He’s a heck of a nice guy.” So, four years later, I met Gene and could see for myself that he was “a heck of a nice guy.” He was also a mover and shaker who enormously contributed to scientific computing.
I fondly remember the post-seminar sessions at his home and our lunches of Chinese food with free discussions of “unusual ideas” about numerical analysis, life, and a bit of gossip.
Gene told me once that he would never retire. He got his wish, unfortunately much too early.

Austin Dubrulle said...

I met Gene in 1971, when I moved to Palo Alto. In no time, it was as if I had known him for decades. His kindness and generosity had that effect. I knew of him in the 1960s for his paper on the solution of least-squares problems, and from his Parisian friend David Feingold, who upon learning of my going to America in 1967, told me, “Eh-mon-vieux, you must meet Gene. He’s a heck of a nice guy.” So, four years later, I met Gene and could see for myself that he was “a heck of a nice guy.” He was also a mover and shaker who enormously contributed to scientific computing.
I fondly remember the post-seminar sessions at his home and our lunches of Chinese food with free discussions of “unusual ideas” about numerical analysis, life, and a bit of gossip.
Gene told me once that he would never retire. He got his wish, unfortunately much too early.
--Austin Dubrulle

gbw said...

Gene was one of my closest and dearest friends stretching over a period of almost 50 years. Our interactions and ongoing conversation ranged from science and politics through the mundane to the deeply personal, from joking about matrices to bitching about Stanford, to what it means to be Jewish, to be an American, to be a mentor, to be a success, to be a failure, and to be a human being. I am devastated. Priorities were wrong and we didn't see enough of each other especially in the past few years, but I'll never forget your beaming face and exhuberant joy and excitement yelling at me while you arrogantly held up the bus when we unexpectedly crossed paths in St. Clement's this summer. May you at last rest in peace and feel justly proud of your many wonderful accomplishments. We shall miss you.

Alan said...

Many have told us what a great scientist, mentor, friend Gene was. He was all of that. To me his most astounding talent had nothing to do with his craft. When Gene hosted a seminar, he would introduce the audience to the speaker. Only someone with a true interest in people could go around a room of 20 or 30 people and correctly identify them by name, affiliation, and interests. It's little wonder that so many people, both in the NA community and out, will miss him. I know that I will.

Alan Karp

Vadim said...

I met Gene in Russian in 2005, he was a lecturer at a summer school at Rostov State University, from that moment I considered Gene as my friend.
I was planning to visit Gene in Stanford for a few days next Wednesday. Unfortunately I will never see and talk to you again, Gene.

Vadim Sokolov

Brendan said...

Gene's scientific achievements transformed the field of matrix computations. He developed the computational algorithms for computing the SVD, both the direct algorithm (with Reinsch) and the iterative one for large sparse systems (with Kahan). If you consider the 67,000 papers listed on Google Scholar that use the SVD, you can see how much just this one small piece of his work has influenced computation in science and engineering. But his influence goes far beyond the SVD. His development of total least squares, his introduction of numerically stable methods into linear programming computations, his critical role in popularizing the use of preconditioned conjugate gradients, his beautiful work on updating eigenvalues and matrix factorizations, and his deep insight into the relation between conjugate gradients and Gauss quadrature are just a few of his major achievements.

Some great mathematicians are pompous and inaccessible, but Gene was gregarious and especially kind to newcomers in the field. As his graduate student, I did more sinking than swimming, but he didn't give up on me. He taught me not only how to do scientific research, but how a scientist should behave, and I have tried to live up to his standards. He could be difficult, but never dull, and always principled. I am thankful for his mentoring and for the privilege of knowing him.

Dianne O'Leary

Vivien Chua said...

Gene was a wonderful teacher and mentor. He taught me linear algebra in my first quarter at Stanford, and subsequently, I worked with him as a teaching assistant for his class. He was a great inspiration, and I was truly impressed by his dedication to teaching, and active mind. Gene, you will be missed dearly!

Gio said...

Gene was always so personable, addressing all seminar attendants by name, and remembering what they were doing. I met him first at Stanford in 1966. and my wife, Voy, still visited him on Thursday afternoon in the hospital. Even though he was very weak, he was able to talk about friends and family.

We will all miss him.

Gio said...

PS: I am updating Gene's student tree,

If you have updates, please email them to me
and I will try to rapidly enter them.

Anne C. Elster said...

Gene was a great communicator, encyclopedic fountain of knowledge of matrix theory, and great friend and mentor not only to his graduate students, but to most of those who were fortunate enough to cross his path. He could be a bit moody and difficult at times, e.g. if you seem not to have realized or remembered to reference someone he thought you ought to have, he would let you and the audience know, but in the end he would treat and think of his colleagues and protégé(e)s in the Numerical Analysis (NA) community as if we were his true family.

I was in graduate school at Cornell when I got to know Gene at the “Parallel Circus” gathering in the late-80’s and got him interested in video (he used to take a camera to meetings for a while). Since then I have, like many other NAers, met up with him both at various meetings and talks, as well as been invited to his house at Stanford on several occasions. As an example of his generosity, he personally gave my husband, Lloyd, a tour of Stanford in is Dr.SVD-plated car and a visit to his favorite Chinese restaurant when they first met and he learned it was Lloyd’s first visit to Stanford. He also generously provided an endowment for the Paul and Cynthia Saylor Professorship in Computer Science at Illinois, his alma mater, showing not only his appreciation for his close friendship and respect for the Saylors, but his true dedication to the future of our field.

I am sad I did not have a chance to say good bye, Gene, but happy that you had friends close by. Your memory will live on through all of us.

Anne C. Elster

Zheng said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zheng said...

I will miss Gene more than words can say. His friendship was a gift to everyone who knew him. I am still in shock and deep sorrow and I don't know what to say, so I would like to quote the following from my thesis: "I would like to thank Professor Gene Golub, one of my closest friends. Despite Gene's senior position and world fame, he is one of the most kind and generous and down-to-earth persons I have ever met". I know that he will always be here, with me, and all of us who loved him.

Martin said...

"I met Gene for the first time at ETH in
Zurich when I was a teenager, and again
in the US at Stanford during a vacation
with my father and my sister when I was
seventeen years old. I remember Gene
from these first encounters as a tall,
very friendly man. It was only during my
graduate studies at Stanford when I
realized that Gene is probably the most
influential numerical analyst of our
time. It would be difficult to find
somebody who has shaped our field more,
who has published more seminal papers,
and who has influenced our research and
touched our lives more than Gene
Golub. The amazing thing is how
approachable Gene has remained to all of
us, how he is replying to our questions
in emails, how he is helping giving key
ideas and insight into our current
research problems, and how encyclopedic
his knowledge of research results is in
the field of numerical analysis. Gene
Golub is a living legend for numerical
analysts, and the best person in our
field to be honored".

Such I wrote on October 14th, 2007,
looking forward to having Gene in Geneva
today Tuesday November 20st, for our
mathematics colloquium, and then at our
new home in Troinex for a raclette
dinner, together with Hairers and
Wanners; raclette that we enjoyed so
often together at Stanford during our
four years there, in his home, with his
family of numerical analysts and their
friends. We had lived in his house
several summers, had a wonderful garden
there, with Swiss mint and Swiss beans
growing, among many other, more local
varieties of vegetables. We tamed,
during one of our stays there, a family
of raccoons, and were thrilled by
playing with the little puppies,
realizing how their paws were actually
like hands, taking our house-shoes off
our feet to play with them. It was only
Gene how told us later to be a bit
careful with these playful animals, and
we were lucky that nothing had happened
to us. I was going to pick up Michael
Saunders and Gene this morning, have
them deposit their luggage at the hotel
Carmen, spending a wonderful day and a
half discussing our common research
interests, in particular the relation of
Schwarz methods, fast Poisson solvers,
and the interesting rank reduction of
Schwarz preconditioned interface systems
when transmission conditions were
altered, a topic Gene would have taught
us more about at the next International
Conference on Domain Decomposition
methods, DD18, in Jerusalem, from
January 12th-17h, 2008, in a special
mini-symposium: Milestones in the
Development of Domain Decomposition

Dear Gene, we owe you so much, we miss
you so much, you were a truly good man.

Martin, Ivana, Janine and Jakob Gander

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

I'm both shocked and saddened by Gene's death. He is the most giving and generous person I know. Although he could be tempermental at times, what he would do for his students and those around him was immesurable. Good-bye Gene. We'll miss you.

Chris Lee

Zdenek said...

Dear Gene, we will miss you more than we are able to say. Good acts remain, you have done very many. Thank you.

Zdenek, Miro, Mirek, Petr

davis said...

My words, they fail to do their part,
to touch the feelings of my heart.
Yet I shall try; goodbye, dear Gene,
My heart is sad, my loss is keen.

Baruch Dayan Ha'emet,
in justice dwells our God, and yet,
his mercy deep and ever pure,
is our true hope, our anchor sure.

... Tim Davis

Tim Davis said...

For those unfamiliar with the phrase, "Baruch Dayan Ha'emet" is a Jewish blessing traditionally said when hearing of a loved one's death, or at a funeral. It means "blessed is the true judge". In the greater sense the call touches on the complete nature of God, including his mercy and his eagerness to share our tears.

Paul said...

I knew Gene the man and not the
mathematician. He was a gentle, caring,loving, brilliant man. He loved to tease as well as to be teased. I think the one thing he wished he would have achieved but didn't was his own family. Therefore his friends and their
children were his extended family. They lived all over the world and he spent most of his life visiting them while doing numerical analysis.

I grieve his passing as if he were my brother. The pain is acute. There is comfort for me to think his kind spirit will be waiting to greet me when I leave this world. Adieu for now dearest friend. You will continue to live in the memory of so many.

Gene, you were sunshine in our lives and you made the days shine. We love you.

Submitted for
Cynthia (Cindy) Saylor
by Paul Saylor

jessebarlow said...

Gene was one of my heroes. Two memories
of him stand out for me.

The first was a day in 1983 that I spent walking him across the Penn State campus.
I was in a very discouraged mood at the time and somehow he lifted my spirits. He was one of those people with a gift for making you feel like the most important person in the world.

The other was in January 2006, we had dinner in Philadelphia. We talked about our families as much as about scientific
computing. He told me about the time that his family visited Philadelphia to spend Passover with an uncle.

Jesse Barlow.

Richard Bartels said...

I have just learned the sad news. I have always considered that life had blessed my existence by giving me two kind and nurturing fathers. One, of course, was Gene. He mentored and inspired me, as he did several generations of students and colleagues, with warm personal interest, humor, and stimulating discussions. An era has ended, and we shall all miss him, as the wonderful comments already posted have made clear. He was the focal point of our community and a friend to us all.

Xiaowei said...

I feel fortunate and honored to be one of Gene's students. He is such an inspiring teacher and great advisor. I still remember vividly his enthusiasm and good humor in the SCCM seminars. It is sad to see he left.

Goodbye, Gene. I'll forever miss you for your kindness, generosity, and intelligence.

Xiaowei Zhan

Michael said...

The following note was read this
afternoon by Shirlee Golub at the
funeral service for Gene, Shalom
Memorial Park, Arlington Heights.

Many thanks to Paul Saylor for finding
the Shalom fax number as he and Cindy
drove to Arlington Heights.

A message from Stanford
for friends and relatives of
Professor Gene Golub
Nov 20, 2007

To Alvin and Shirlee, Paul and Cindy,
and all others present on this last day
of having Gene beside you.

We at Stanford are the ones who should
have known Gene best. He was a unique
presence, an unquiet yet reassuring
presence, whether he was physically on
campus or not. His emails and phone
messages, though necessarily brief, had
purpose and initiative. Almost always
they were a spur to action. But
sometimes they were from a lonely
teenager, just checking that you
remembered he was there.

Yes, we thought we knew Gene.

- We do understand that 9 out of 10 of
the visitors we met each year were
there specifically because Gene had
invited them. We were the richer for

- We did admire this widely read master
who was at his best relating the story
in Ingrid Bergman's pre-war movie
"Intermezzo", or the strange true-life
story of how he helped someone buy a
boat ticket that would alter the
person's life forever.

- We knew every wonderful painting and
artwork in Gene's wonderfully colorful
house, and his joy in rounding up a
group of students and visitors for the
best possible Thanksgiving dinner.

- We knew his excitement at working out
a new algorithm on the plane, or
whispering a key idea to a newly met
colleague and next thing finding
himself coauthor of yet another fine

The list would be endless. But as the
blog messages pour in during these last
few days, we realize that Gene's
personality and presence around the
world have had far far greater effects
than we could ever imagine till now. As
Gene's friends, we thought we all knew
each other, but now we see that's
impossible. Only Gene could be the
center of such a multifarious web.

Dearest Gene, your constant travels were
not aimless: they were a tremendous
success. You were the fairy godmother
who touched a multitude of mortals with
your magic wand and raised us beyond our
humble limits. You had exactly the
right idea creating your SCCM Program,
and you deserved far more university
support for keep it vital and expanding.
All the scientific faculty and students
at Stanford know that our new ICME
institute is there because of your
preceding initiative and vision.

The theme that shines through the
hundreds of incoming messages is that
you are truly irreplaceable. From
Stanford we send you our dearest thanks
for making us the center of the
universe. We will do our utmost to
carry your shining light forward.

Michael said...

I was asked to nominate Gene for the ACM Turing Award in October and I provide the details of that nomination below in his honor -- MB
October 12, 2007

"It is my privilege to nominate Professor Gene H. Golub of Stanford University
for the ACM Turing Award. Having read the recent biography of Albert
Einstein, Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson, I can draw
several parallels between these two pioneers of scientific research.
As Einstein vigorously sought unifying yet simple theories to explain
the nature of physical phenomena, Golub has similarly produced the underlying
mathematical theory for explaining the nature of numerical data (either
acquired or created by man).

As Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the
photoelectric effect, Professor Golub is most deserving of the ACM Turing
Award for his seminal work on the singular value decomposition (SVD) and
total least squares problems. As Einstein was noted for his mentoring
and nurturing of young scientists, Golub has advised numerous PhD students
in computer science who are now considered leaders of the discipline as
well. As Einstein's theories of general and special relativity help to
explain our physical universe, Golub's work on the SVD has defined how
engineers and natural, physical, and social scientists detect, interpret,
and explain the driving variables of both physical processes and human

Like Einstein, Golub has been generous to the scientific community in helping
struggling scientists and engineers understand the underlying principles
of his discipline. His publications and presentations set the tone for
new research by faculty and graduate students across the globe. His co-authored
book, Matrix Computations, Third Edition, published by the Johns Hopkins
University Press, is considered the bible of numerical methods by mathematicians
and computer scientists. Every Internet search by Google, every signal-to-noise
separation, and every statistical assessment of variance is facilitated
by Golub's work in the development of algorithms and software for the SVD.
Needless to say, our ability to extract and interpret important features
from natural and man-made data is enabled by the decades of pioneering
work by Professor Golub. It is both an honor and privilege to nominate
him for the ACM Turing Award."

Sincerely yours,

Michael W. Berry
Professor and Coordinator for Computer Science
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Chen said...

Gene was a mentor, a friend, a collaborator - all of these at once. We first met in the mid 1990s, and later on my two years at Stanford with him made a great impact on me and my work. We stayed in touch ever since. Gene did not separate his personal life from his professional life. His personal friends were in most cases his collaborators and his scientific community members. Similarly, he did not separate mentorship from friendship. Recently, he thought a lot about how life would be for him in years to come. Unfortunately, he did not live to see how things would work out. But it is comforting to know that he continued with what he loved doing for decades, until very close to the end.

I managed to get through to the hospital and talk with Gene on the phone the afternoon of the day before his death. He was not feeling well at that moment, and our conversation was short. I did not imagine that it would be the last time. Gene, as you often said when we finished a conversation: "Le'hit'ra'ot". (Goodbye in Hebrew.) You will be enormously missed.

Chen Greif

jcrioual said...

When I was a student, Gene attended one of my first talks.
He personally went to encourage me in my research after my presentation.
That was a brief encounter but a defining moment. That counted a lot for me at a time
I was unsure of myself.

So it's time to say thank you Professor and Good bye.


Oliver Ernst said...

I met Gene in 1990 in Germany, when he recruited me to become a PhD student in the then new SCCM program at Stanford. (I didn't need much convincing.) As a thesis advisor Gene was both marvelously hands-off and at the same time supportive in every conceivable way. He was also immensely inspiring. His hospitality toward numerical analysts from all over the world together with his openness and generosity toward his students combined to provide a family atmosphere -- with all the ups and downs of family life -- at Stanford and within the numerical linear algebra community that made our field special. In the years since then, despite his frantic schedule, he found the time to stay in touch and for the occasional visit to our new home in Dresden, and his humor, wit and enthusiasm always made it a pleasure to have him around. As a scientist, mentor, collaborator, leader and friend, Gene Golub has set an enormously high standard for us to follow.

With great sadness and gratitude,
Oliver Ernst

Jok Tang said...

I'm in a big shock after hearing the sad news about Gene's sudden passing... Gene was a brilliant scientist, but also a great and generous person. I knew Gene for just 1.5 years. Last summer he invited me to come to Oxford University. We had a wonderful time together. I won't forget the musical we visited at West End and the many nice conversations, dinners and lunches we had together. Gene, you will be in my heart. I'll remember your friendship and hospitality. We will miss you... Goodbye Gene.

Ahmed said...

I first met Gene in Bill Gear’s house during one of his visits to the University of Illinois in 1974. I was aware of his work before then, but after meeting him in person I made it a point to keep in touch with him. I spent the summer of my first sabbatical at Serra House and was truly impressed by how he created such a welcoming and enriching environment for computational scientists at Stanford.
Gene was a loyal Illini, he cared very much about the University of Illinois and always remembered with affection his days as a graduate student in the U of I`s Digital Computer Laboratory.
I was fortunate to call Gene and talk to him on Thursday evening, November 15. Little did I know I was talking to him for the last time. I have lost a great mentor, a colleague, and a dear friend.

Ahmed Sameh

Bernd said...

When I arrived with my family for a postdoc year at Stanford in 1988, I hardly knew Gene. This quickly changed. We were overwhelmed by Genes warm hospitality and his open mindednes. Gene turned out to be the archetype for an academic father and friend in one person. Since ever then, the whole family had a very close relation to Gene. This in particular includes our sons. While they were spending a high-school year at Menlo Park, Gene naturally took care of them, without giving us notice. He invited them for dinner, movies and the like -- just unbelievable.

Gene, we all miss you.

Bernd, Jutta, Henning, and Martin Fischer

Sebastian Schuon said...

Knowing him only for the short time of some month, it was great to experience his warmness towards young researchers.
Gene, I will miss you!

Lloyd said...

I will miss Gene. He has been a member of my circle of friends from Illiac days at the University of Illinois.

For a time, when he was a graduate student and I a new Asst. Prof. , we shared an office together. I remember many conversations we had about choosing a thesis advisor and an area of research. I don't think either of us suspected what a brilliant future he would have.

Goodbye Gene and thank you for being part of my life.

-- Lloyd Fosdick

Hans said...

Twenty years ago, in the spring of 1987, I was allowed to stay some months with Gene at Stanford. As a young PhD student, this spring term was a great inspiration. Gene became a close friend and mentor. During these two decades it has always been a great joy to meet Gene. Both me and my wife Antonella Zanna feel that we have lost a close friend.

- Hans Munthe-Kaas

Ake Bjorck said...

I first met Gene in 1965 when he was visiting Germund Dahlquist at KTH. At that time I was a lecturer
trying to finish my dissertation.
Gene encouraged me to publish an analysis I had one on MGS and got
me to finish.

Gene later arranged a postdoc year during 1968/69 for me at
Stanford and Berkeley. I still
vividly recall Gene meeting me and my family at SF airport. He took
us to our motel and also left a bag
of groceries if we would wake up and be hungry! This warm welcome
was the start of a long family
friendship with Gene.

I later spent two sabbaticals and
several summers at Stanford. It was
always a feast to visit. There
were always wonderful students around and during part of the 80th Dahlquist and Wilkinson too.

I feel an epoch of our community
has come to an end. It is sad
that we never again will hear one
of Gene's elegant talks or his quick-witted comments from the audience. The only consolation is that the big family of friends
and colleagues he created will
surely continue in his spirit.
I treasure the years I have known
Gene and will miss him always!

Ake, Eva, Martin,Maria

Nachi said...

I met Gene during his recent 6 month visit to Oxford. He was a kind and good-hearted man with a constant sense of humor and a smile on his face. While he was at Oxford, we had dinner or drinks in the evenings sometimes and a special 4pm coffee break during the day. Just last month, I was in San Francisco for a couple of days and Gene drove up from Palo Alto with David Gleich to meet me for dinner. It was a very nice time, and we had tentatively planned to meet for dinner again in the next year or so.

His many contributions to mathematics will live on forever, as will the effect he has had on the lives of so many, which is ever more apparent by the kind words and
the love being shared here.

I also know that during his 6 month visit to Oxford he had a very nice time as he told us on so many different occasions.

Nachi Gupta

Linda Kaufman said...

Gene was a teacher, an advisor, a colleague, an inspiration and a friend. Perhaps it is the personal touches that I remember most- like when I was an undergraduate in 1969 and he called me to verify that I would come to Stanford, or when he would introduce each person in the audience to the speaker or 2 years ago when he invited me to give a seminar at Stanford and as we were driving to dinner, he saw a student and invited him to come along.
Gene, I will miss you.
Linda Kaufman

L. Wu said...

Goodbye, Gene.

It seemed like only yesterday that I saw your 75th birthday celebration, and took a picture of a gathered group of numerical analysts in lower triangular form.

You will be missed...

Biswa said...

Your sudden departure from the world has made us so sad but we cherish with the fact that your unparallel contributions will last forever.
Though you are a man of the world, we in Illinois take a special pride in you that you were born, raised and educated in Illinois and knowing how proud you used to feel that you were an Illinoisian.
I feel so lucky to get to know you so well as a person, as a friend, and an academic colleague.
You were a great man, a good friend, and a super role model.
I feel so good that I was able to attend the last Stanford meeting held in your honor a few months ago where I saw you last.
I shall preserve with a great care all the photos I have with you and
your last e-mail to me written only a few days ago from the Matrix Analysis Conference in Marseille, France.
My wife and I are grateful to you for your visit to our home only a few months ago and for your kind remarks about me and my wife in the IEEE Honoring Ceremony last January in IIT, Kharagpur, India.
So much memories with you !!
Good bye, Gene.
God bless your great and immortal soul !!


jameslu said...

I met Gene during his visit to Oxford, and saw him again at ICIAM Zurich. Gene was such a wonderfully kind, warm and generous person. He will always be remembered.

L.L. said...

Sadly enough, I never knew Gene Golub, but I can still feel his presence in the department. As long as people remember him, he will be there with that twinkle in his eye, ready to feed your brain with more matrix computations than you can imagine... just look for him, and you will find him.

George Styan said...

From George and Evelyn Styan

What sad news about Gene. He was a wonderful friend and host, who seemed never able to do enough for his guests. Indeed whenever we were to visit Stanford, Gene would always insist that we stay at his home.

George first met Gene at a matrix conference in Lubbock, Texas, in 1968,
and there he helped George choose a souvenir Texan hat. Two years later, we spent the summer at Stanford, which led to two joint papers. Gene found us a charming cottage in Palo Alto to rent for the summer, even though he hardly knew us! The cottage was perfect for us. For some reason Gene was spending more time at home in those days than recently.

What we came to love and expect from his friendship was total honesty, always delivered with warmth and kindness. We are sure that his legion academic friends from far and wide experienced the same. But as hard as we tried to welcome him in our home, though always gracious, he seemed more comfortable as host than as guest. We are so pleased he was able to visit us in Vermont, even though he did not stay long. We will miss these visits. And we will miss seeing Gene at the annual workshop on matrices and statistics. We remember Gene and his laptop at the Uppsala Workshop just last year---his enthusiasm there was just as infectious as ever. It is hard to believe he is gone.

Yongyang said...

Gene was a great professor, wonderful teacher, outstanding researcher and sweet friend. He is one of very influential people to the world and in my life. We will miss him forever.

Raymond said...

I first met Gene twenty years ago when I visited him in Stanford. I last met Gene few weeks ago in Hong Kong over dinner. He was as cheerful and happy as I first met him. It's really sad that he's gone so suddenly. A wonderful mentor and friend, I'll miss him.

Raymond Chan

Danny said...

I knew "Professor Golub" as an undergraduate student in one of his courses on Matrix Computations. He left an impact on me not so much because I slowly began to realize that he had developed most of the fundamental algorithms that I was learning in his and other courses, but because of the way that he took an active interest in who I was and the way that he encouraged me as a student and as a young researcher.

At the end of class, he would always start a conversation with one of the students in the class, and he always showed a genuine interest in the person he was talking to. He was the only professor who I would go see in office hours just to chat, since he was so welcoming and inspiring, and he was such an interesting guy. I can only imagine how many other young students have similarly been welcomed and inspired by Gene, which is great testament to his character as a person and the impact that he had on the world.

Danny Tarlow

Michael said...

On behalf of Jerzy Wasniewski:

Sad, sad, sad! That was the last
time. I met Gene at the "Dundee
Numerical Analysis Binomial
Conference" in June 2007. We agreed
Gene will be Invited Speaker at the
"Parallel Processing and Applied
Mathematics Binomial Conference" in
Poland, September 2009. Gene was
very happy to go there. He had a
sentiment to Poland. His
Grandfather emigrated from Poland
to the United States. We were
several times discussing about our
old Country.


zcastillo said...

It was an honor to meet Gene a few weeks ago in a conference in Venezuela. He was full of knowledge, ideas, and humor. He kindly answered all my questions, and gave me some words of advice on my research.
Besides a wonderful researcher, I will always remember him as a very enthusiast and generous human being.
Thanks Gene.

tivolo said...

Among his many accomplishments, Gene can be remembered for his enthusiasm in bringing our community together. He is well known for founding the NA Digest, beginning the ICIAM meetings, starting several journals, and more. But I also remember Gene for his support of many local activities --- like being one of the first people to send a message to the BANANA (Bay Area Numerical Analysis Networking Alliance) mailing list, thereby ensuring its success!

Thanks for all that you've done, Gene.

-Tammy Kolda

Sherwin said...

gene, we had been friends for nigh on sixty years........possibly one of the few that was not a colleague...i will miss you telling of your degrees and rewards followed by the smirk and giggle...."can u imagine that ...just an ordinary jewish boy from the west side"

Peter said...

When I think of Gene, I remember his kindness, his generosity, and how deeply he valued his friends. It breaks my heart when I realize that I won't see him again, but I take some comfort in knowing that he was with many of his friends until the end.

Peter Pacheco

Qingshui said...

Mingchao CAI:

I met Prof. Gene on Oct. 31, 2007.(HKBU, workshop on saddle point problems) It was my first time, and also the last time, to have the chance to communicate with this famous mathematician. During the workshop, I raised 2 questions to Prof. Andy Wathen, Prof. Gene was also very interested in our conversation and listen to us very patiently. After that, he asked me to write my information to him. I did that and I told him that I was interested in saddle point problems therefore I attended the workshop. Prof. Gene said “That’s good, you’d never know what you need to learn in the future. “ We also had lunch together. After the workshop, I was going to leave for my home university. Prof. Gene shook hand with me, very kindly. He said “Nice to meet you. Mr. Cai, you will make a success in your career.”

Fortunately, I have the chance to stay with Gene for 1 day. I would say that Prof. Gene is really very nice. His kindness deeply impressed me. I also thank him for his encouragement.
What I can do is to write these words to memorize him.

Mingchao CAI
The HongKong Univ. of Sci & Tec.

Gustaf said...

I first met Gene a little over 30 years ago when I was still a PhD student with Germund Dahlquist, and this connection turned out to be of great importance to me. In 1985 Gene invited me to spend the summer quarter at Stanford, and I had a wonderful time both personally and scientifically. Gene was such a generous person, and he gave me many a good advice that have helped me do my best in my career. But what really warms my heart is the time we spent together, in wine tastings, eating local artichokes, hiking in the mountains above Palo Alto, listening to music, and just talking together with colleagues in his home, which was always open to his friends and colleagues. Goodbye Gene, you will be very much missed.

Gustaf Soderlind, Lund, Sweden

Bart De Moor said...

Gene was one of my scientific fathers. Hilde and I stayed
at Stanford University in 1988-1989 and we lived in his house a couple of times.

I was one of Gene's postdocs at that time, while Hilde was his secretary.

We had many good moments together, in Stanford and in other places in the US and
worldwide. He visited Leuven often.

He was a topscientist, received many awards from many organisations, including
an honorary degree here in Leuven in 1992.

He was a source of inspiration not only for the scientific work we have been doing, but also for his hospitality and support to all of us in our daily lifes.

Above all, he was one of my closest friends and mentors.

We will miss you a lot, Gene !
Thank you for everything.

Bart - Hilde De Moor - Devoghel
Thomas, Hannah, Jakob

Tony said...

I had dinner with Gene in Hong Kong on Oct 30, together with Frank Luk, Andy Wathen, Raymond Chan, etc, when Gene and Andy were en route to an East Asia SIAM meeting in China. He looked fine and in great spirit. We had a couple more email exchanges a few days afterwards and we even talked about me visiting him at Stanford soon.

Gene's sudden passing is particularly personal for me not only because he has been my mentor since 1972, but also because I lost my own mother in the same Stanford hospital only two weeks earlier, also after a sudden turn for the worse in a matter of days. I tried calling Gene twice at the hospital but he was busy on the phone (probably answering calls from his many well-wishers) so I really regret not having had a chance to talk with him.

Gene, you'll live on in our minds!

Josh-s-Blogger said...

Gene's amazing generosity goes way beyond academics and big matters. I just want to list a small thing to show his wonderfulness. Two months before registration as a student, I drove by campus to say hello, he immediately asked if I needed to park my car somewhere as I would be out of the country and offered his front yard as the spot. He further arranged user accounts right away on SCCM machines and, through Raymond, in Hong Kong for ease of communication. If we are in Hogwarts, Gene is the definitely Professor Dumbledore in my mind. Rest in peace, Gene, your warmth will shine forever. - Josh

Len said...

I first met Gene in 1970, when he took it upon himself to facilitate my acceptance into the PhD program despite complications caused by my not having applied (!), and the subsequent problems in recovering from that oversight due to the ongoing post office strike. In the intervening 37 years we would meet periodically and laugh about it. He went out on a limb for me and I am forever grateful for that. He was a warm and caring man.
-- Len Shustek

Siva said...

My first meeting with Gene was an unplanned one. Still with his kindness and generosity he made me feel comfortable. Since then every meeting with him was a confidence booster.

Thank you Gene for those encouraging words. You will always be remembered.

HilbertAstronaut said...

Gene, we'll miss you!!!

Even though I wasn't one of your students, you were a great mentor. I enjoyed the drive down to Stanford last year to visit your office for advice on my thesis research.

You did the field a great service, as much for your warm and friendly social networking as for your brilliant work and skill at communicating.

Rest in peace, and send down some of your brain power and friendliness to us young ones!

Gaofeng said...

It was a striking moment when I heard that Gene had left us. Gene was such an inspirating teacher and a wonderful friend!

During my Stanford years, Gene's classes were always among my top favorites. I am very grateful to Gene for being on my PhD oral exam committee. After graduation, I still kept a very close contact with Gene. He always gave me timely helps whenever I needed!

In year 2002, Gene was invited to visit Wuhan University, China, by me, on behalf of Wuhan University. He had received the most warm-hearted reception from the students, faculty, and president of Wuhan University. Gene gave a wonderful lecture in Wuhan University. In the opening remarks given by the president of Wuhan University for Gene's lecture, the president listed Gene's major contributions to numerical analysis and scientific computing. No doubt, that was a memoriable moment to account for how significant contributions a great man can make to the realm of science and technology. As a Pope of linear algebra, Gene will be forever memorized by his students, friends, and colleages.

Goodbye, Gene. Thanks for your kindness and supports all the years. I am going to miss him!

Gaofeng Wang

Ross said...

I had the privilege to meet Gene Golub during a special lunch the Stanford MCS department had sponsored with him and several undergraduates, including myself. Among undergraduates there's a common half-joking meme that "professors are scary", however Gene was anything but. If anything he was warm, friendly, and welcoming, and it seemed like he was genuinely happy to interact with students like us. He was the very image of the wise nurturing professor, and it was only later that I learned of his massive list of accomplishments and contributions to his field.

It was a short but precious one hour, and I will always remember the kindly man who was all too willing to dispense personal anecdotes and sage advice. I will miss him.

Tao Tang said...

Gene was so kind to accept our invitation to speak in the The 3rd East Asia SIAM Conference held from 2-5 November 2007 in Xiamen, China. He was the first speaker of the conference, see

This might be his final conference speech.
He also attended the business meeting of
the East Asia SIAM Section and gave us many useful advices and suggestions.

We had good time with Gene in Hong Kong and Xiamen. I am deeply sad that he has gone. We will miss him.

Steve Leon said...

The Numerical Analysis and Scientific
Computing Group at UMass Dartmouth has set up some Web pages in tribute to Gene Golub. They can be accessed through the link

Steve Leon

Zhiming Chen said...

I was shocked when I saw the sad news about Professor Golub. I met him in the conference in Xiamen on November 3, 2007. He was very supportive to the
computational mathematics community in China. He was so kind to accept my
invitation to serve the editorial board of the upcoming journal "Numerical
Mathematics: Theory, Methods and Applications." He was enthusiastic
about the new journal and saying in the Email of September 22 that "I'm
looking forward to seeing this journal in print. It promises to be an
exciting time.". It is really a pity that he couldn't see the first issue of
the journal. Have a good journey, Professor Golub, we all miss you!

Zhiming Chen

Fred J. said...

Whenever I met Gene Golub, not only was he warm and friendly, but he also made some helpful comment about the mathematics that I was working on. I enjoyed listening to Gene speak and learned a lot each time.

Gene visited Hong Kong many times, encouraging the mathematics community. While I was at Hong Kong Baptist University, Gene gave a very interesting talk in our distinguished lecture series.

The Department of Applied Mathematics at Illinois Institute of Technology, where I am now, was eagerly anticipating Gene's visit next April to be our Menger Lecturer. We will miss him very much.

Fred J. Hickernell

orly alter said...

Gene Golub was my hero, my mentor and my friend.

Only the truly gifted can give to others, and Gene's greatness is marked by his generosity. Since we met in the Fall of 2000, Gene was always happy to share with me his mathematical knowledge and insights, for example, when he taught me the GSVD after I came to see him about simultaneous diagonalization of rectangular matrices. Gene was always happy to introduce me to his colleagues and community, as when he invited me to the Tensor Decomposition Workshop in Palo Alto in 2004. Gene was always happy to spare his time and effort, for example, writing on my behalf what must have been an infinite number of support letters, and advising me on academic life.

Only the truly honorable can treat others with respect, and Gene's trademark is the complete lack of prejudice in his relationships: I was but a postdocoral fellow in the Department of Genetics at Stanford, when Gene came to visit me in my office to learn about the uses of SVD in Computational Genomics. My background in Physics meant that the terminology and notations I was using were different than the ones used by the Numerical Analysis community. Even so, Gene concentrated on the similarities. Soon we found out that we shared an interest in theater; we had both seen the play "Copenhagen" by Michael Frayn in London that year, and enjoyed its description of the real world using ideas from matrix computations.

Only the truly talented can inspire others, and Gene is so famous for having collaborated with such a diverse multitude of scientists, that one is tempted to coin the "Golub number." In our seven fruitful years of collaboration Gene always encouraged me to pursue my ideas and realize my vision. For example, for three long years Gene patiently entertained discussions of my notion of generalizing the GSVD to a higher-order GSVD for more than two matrices. These discussions eventually bore fruit in the form of a collaborative work that was just recently submitted for publication.

Only the truly caring devote of their time and attention to others, and Gene throughout his very long career always found time for the people in his life. This summer, my husband and I enjoyed two days with Gene in London. We went to see a triplet of absurdist short plays at the Donmar Warehouse, one of them coincidentally by Michael Frayn. We also visited the National Portrait Gallery, which neither of us had been to before. We joked about which artist each of us would commission for his or her portrait. Gene regretted that Sir Joshua Reynolds was not available anymore. My selection was my brother Yariv Alter, whose multimedia art work includes the "inter-Face" portraits
( or ). I looked forward to introducing my brother to Gene in Hong Kong this April. Gene was to lecture at the Croucher Advanced Study Institute on Mathematical and
Algorithmic Challenges for Modeling and Analyzing Modern Data Sets. My brother, a professor of audiovisual design at both the Rietveld Academie and the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, was to continue his lecture series in Xiamen
( ), which is about one hour flight from Hong Kong. When Yariv passed away unexpectedly on August 27, I was too grief-stricken to mention this to anyone, including Gene. Gene learned about my personal tragedy, I'm not sure how, and contacted me immediately with kind words that somehow, again I don't know how, managed to brighten my darkest hour. He made
sure to check on me almost daily during the first month, and to prod me back into my work as means of recovery.

On November 14, I talked with Gene on the phone for the last time. Always the peoples' professor, he chatted about his new favorite TV show, the BBC's "The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard," and its social implications. He was determined to fight the cancer, and felt he had the complete support and dedication of the hospital staff and his colleagues at Stanford to win over it.

Alvin Golub, if you're reading these words, I wish I had Gene's talent in reminding you of the beauty of this world after your enormous loss.

Gene Golub was my hero, my mentor and my friend. I will miss him forever.

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