Oct 17, 2010

Partha Niyogi has passed away

Having just returned from Australia and New Zealand after attending ALT2010, I am extremely sad to learn that Partha Niyogi has just died after a battle with brain cancer at the age of 43.

I spent two years at TTI Chicago, which is located at the University of Chicago where Partha was a professor for many years. It would be very easy to laud his excellent and extensive research record but instead I'd like to praise Partha the man.

While we never had a formal research project going, I must have taken part in at least 10 long visits to his office during my time there, and each time I walked out feeling great. Chatting with Partha was invariably fun, and Partha knew how to listen. He had a way for making you feel comfortable, and he was never judgmental. And he possessed a keen and witty sense of humor, he could shoot the breeze about any topic. He was also very open and had no difficulty discussing his life outside of academia. Partha was just incredibly easy to like.

But what I think I'll remember most about Partha is his ability to inspire. I found myself fully engaged every time he gave a talk. He made research feel exciting, and he showed passion about his work. This is an exceptional gift.

There are some nice comments about Partha over at Geomblog as well as at Computational Complexity.