Towards the end of my time in Princeton when I chose to postdoc in London a friend mentioned that I should meet Sam, who was finishing up his PhD with the new guy from CalTech (unlike the rest of the people who have posted here I had no clue who John Hopfield was and now only know he was lucky enough to have trained Sam), as Sam was headed to London too. It was a totally unremarkable conversation but what a stroke of luck. Sam was born two years and one day after me yet treated me like his younger sister. He introduced me to his friends, threw our 28th and 30th birthday party, always mentioned when he was getting tickets to something, navigated while I drove in central London, explored alleys of London, toured the English countryside, and, along with Maneesh, always made sure a memorable meal was planned along the way. My first night in London Sam met me by the Camden Locks and mapped The Optimized Strategy for me to use the next day on my search for a flat; he optimized it for the buses and trains I would need to take. In retrospect, this was no easy task as I only lasted two months in London without a car but to Sam, using Public Transport efficiently was challenge that just needed to be solved. He was delighted when I chose a flat on the same bus line as he… the C31 connected us that year.
I worked at the outskirts of London on Mill Hill where I could see the buildings of the city from the front of my building and sheep grazing the greenbelt from my bench. We had animal rights protesters every Wednesday night and were not allowed to leave by foot. Sam was fascinated and kept begging to come spend a Wednesday afternoon so he could see it all for himself. I agreed and I remember his giggle as I pulled the car out past the protesters. I always admired his ability to enjoy and seize whatever the moment brought.
In the end I was not as enchanted by my postdoc as I was by London and quit and moved to NYC. But it was because of Sam and Maneesh that it took all year to make that decision. For me that year was the last I felt truly free, my last without my career and marriage and my twins making me always feel so responsible. What a gift you gave me Sam.
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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