Monday, October 13, 2014

Dear Ferran,

I'm just drinking a glass of good red wine  you remember the '2πr' you discovered once and brought me some bottles? Tastes excellent  as you said: 'a real round wine'! I was saving the last bottle for a special occasion, hoping that we could jointly enjoy it. Well, I could write you how sad I am, how sad we are all. But I prefer to let you know how happy I'm that I had the privilege to meet you, to know you for over 20 years, to have you as a colleague, a teacher, a friend, and to learn so many things from you.

I was always excited when, either in Barcelona or wherever we met for a workshop or conference, you asked me if I would like to join for dinner. I knew that it will be an excellent place and a pleasurable evening  I still have a list with recommendations from you where to go. And for the accompanying wine is was always a simple and sure thing: just follow Ferrans advice. And I was deeply impressed when you could identify all the local wines in a blind tasting even here at a Buschenschank, and tell me facts about them which I have not heard before.

Working with you was always fun. Not that the problems you posed were so easy to solve.  But you always gave them an adequate label like 'poisoned' so that everybody was warned. I'm happy that sometimes we ignored that labels and still attacked them. And if we were very lucky we could in fact solve several of them. Just to then immediately ask if the result could be strengthened or generalized. That was fun.

When organizing our joint projects I always knew that I can rely on you. In subtle matters I always appreciated your advise. For example, when local science foundations mutually blocked each other like the dinning philosophers, we gave them calls in parallel  and it worked. Or do you remember that in one of the early joint proposals the placeholder sentence 'the Catalan team will teach the Austrian students how to drink Spanish wine' survived till the final version, and only your last reading prevented us from submitting this to the science foundations? That was really close. But fun!

Ferran, wherever you are now, I'm sure you already found some excellent red wine to taste, so I raise my glass  ¡Salud y muchas gracias por todo Ferran!

Oswin

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