Don Witt (1958-2019)

July 10, 2019

It is with great sadness that we announce that Don Witt passed away April 19th after a long battle with cancer. Don was born and raised in Cudahy, Wisconsin. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. After positions at University of California, Santa Barbara and Syracuse University, he eventually became faculty at the University of British Columbia.

Don was inspired by physics. He thrived on discussions with colleagues and students on topics ranging from physics phenomena in everyday life to breakthroughs in current research. His own research was focused on mathematical relativity. He was best known for his discovery that homotopy was not equivalent to isotopy for homeomorphisms of 3-manifolds and for his work on topological censorship.

Don was also a dedicated and passionate instructor with a enduring interest in first year teaching and in physics demonstrations. His love of physics also motivated him to engage in many outreach activities at UBC. Over his career, he taught thousands of students, inspiring in many a lifelong love of physics and its applications. He will be sorely missed.

The BC, Musqueam and UBC flags (at the North Plaza of the Life Building (the Old SUB) will be lowered on Monday, July 22, in remembrance of UBC faculty and staff, including Don, who passed away between April and July.

A Celebration of Don's life

A celebration of Don's life will be hosted at the UBC Sage Restaurant (East) (Leon and Thea Koerner University Centre, 6331 Crescent Road Vancouver BC, V6T 1Z2) on Monday, July 22, 2019 at 3pm. Please RSVP via the link below.

RSVP for Don Witt's Celebration of Life

Please note: In lieu of flowers, donations in remembrance of Don can be made to the Palliative Care Unit via the VGH&UBC Hospital Foundation.

Memorial Page

A memorial page for Don has been set up. Visit the memorial page if you would like to leave messages.