Goodbye Joe


Good colleague and former Sarton Chair Joe Greene has passed away on October 10th. He visited the lab in 2005 to give his legendary short course of thin film growth. It was for us a memorable moment and it was the "nucleus" of our research on thin films. In 2016, Joe Greene was appointed the Sarton Chair for his contribution to the field of the history of sciences. His papers on the history of thin films and sputtering show the love of Joe for historical and fundamental research. Diederik wrote a laudatio for Joe when he received the Sarton Chair prize. You can read in full length at the website of the Sarton Chair, but here is an excerpt as a tribute to Joe.

"I would like to finish with perhaps the most important reason why physicists should study history, and why people from the thin film community should at least read these excellent papers from Joe. After the dinner in 2005, I occasionally met Joe, and when there was sufficient time for discussions, they were always fun. This point, the fun, returns often when you talk with Joe. So, a citation from an email I received from him regarding Joe’s publication for the Sarton Journal on the history of sputter deposition, is perhaps the best way to honor him. I cite “It was a lot of work, and I learned so much, but it was fun to do it”. And shouldn’t that be the reason why we perform research? This statement seems so important that Stanley affirms “I would be remiss not to mention that history of science is, frankly, fun. It is full of fascinating stories that will captivate you. Who doesn’t want to know more after learning that in his experiments James Joule relied on his expertise in beer, ...”. This is of course for me, and also I think for other beer lovers, a more than genuine reason to be interested in the historical aspect of science. In summary, the fun without losing the focus on scientific correctness, is perhaps the lesson Joe teaches us very well. And I hope you’ll agree that this is maybe after all the best reason to award Joe with the Sarton chair."

Joe, we will miss you but don't forget you.