Monday, October 6, 2014

Some of you have asked me “why don’t you write something?”. But you all know the answer: “Because I can’t. How many times and in how many different circumstances he helped me personally or mathematically? How could I write how much I owe him and how much I will miss him?" But finally, I understand that I owe him a written contribution. So let me just mention two things, although I feel they are only a very small part of all I think and feel.

Ferran gave me all of the most important pushes and advices in my personal/professional life (who can completely distinguish them?). First, by sending me to Stony Brook in 1995 after plotting every detail with Steve behind my back. Some time later, knowing that I tend to get involved in too many different activities, by simply saying “do you intend to finish your PhD thesis before or after your retirement?” Many years later, when I accepted a service position in our university, he sent me the shortest but wiser of all the messages that I received. It was composed by just three words: “suerte, valor y miedo” (luck, courage, and fear). After I came back from my service years, he helped me in absolutely everything, and since then he has been protecting me from all my crazy temptations of getting involved in too many things, the last one being very recent.

Ferran knew every geometric issue I don’t know. And this means a huge amount of stuff. I always particularly loved his knowledge of classical geometry and his ability for synthetic and simple proofs. Many of you must have participated in a workshop scene which has been repeated many times, when the problem under study went to a point where my reaction was “let’s stop trying solving this, I am sure Ferran recognizes the object we are dealing with”. He was called, looked briefly at the problem, and said: “of course, this geometric locus is an ellipse!” or “sure, this lines form an hyperboloid!”.

How are we supposed to be able to keep going without him? 

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