How do I remember Sam Roweis? I remember the way he joined my group, quietly, self-effacingly. He found that the other student members of the group were people whom he particularly enjoyed interacting with He didn’t push himself forward, but was simply around. One day my secretary, Laura Rodriguez, said to me ‘I think that Sam would like to be part of the group. Isn’t there a desk in the corner of [whatever room it was] that he could have?’ And that was the beginning of my personal interactions with Sam.
I will remember of course his brilliance, accomplishment, and scientific contributions, and catholic interests in science, technology, and what other research students were working on. But I particularly want to note in the Caltech community Sam’s contributions as a teacher. In his era, CNS 185 succeeded or failed on the backs of TA’s. Sam, who had an exceptional gift for explaining things in a clear and interactive fashion, was twice an award-winning TA. He lavished attention and time on individual students, small groups, and on preparing the elaborate problem sets, creating a nurturing environment which made all the difference to the learning and attitudes of scores of Caltech students. In his era, my identification with the success of the 185 was somewhat spurious. The success was Sam.
And I will remember also the many things he taught me, with the same patience and desire to enhance my abilities that he exhibited toward the students. He was an extraordinary scientific colleague, my student and my teacher, a gentle considerate man, and my friend.
Sam Roweis died unexpectedly on January 12, 2010.
He was a truly wonderful person; a beloved son, husband and father; and a treasured friend and colleague.
This is a place for all of us who were lucky enough to know Sam to share our memories and to help celebrate his life.
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