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Few people display greatness in quite so many different ways. I will always miss Erich's booming voice resounding down the corridors of TRIUMF, his generous support and sage advice for our research efforts, his inspirational (for both students and faculty) teaching, his plenitude of backyard tomatoes and his warm friendship. I wish he could have lived forever. Jess H. Brewer, Colleague and Friend
It was with great regret and sadness that Fay and I learned that Erich Vogt had passed away. He was a great friend and university colleague when I was at UBC as Head of the Department of Medicine from 1976-1987. Erich was a brilliant man who had a deep love of physics and indeed all academics. Since I also came from Steinbach, we treasured our relationship all the more. As provost, he supported the new research directions in Medicine. He was a lot of fun and we also received his marvelous fruitcake at Christmas.
Erich will be greatly missed as he captivated the best at UBC and in science as a whole.
With all our sympathies and in memory of a life truly well lived. John and Fay Dirks, Colleague
Erich Vogt was an eccentric, brilliant and passionate man with lots of vision and never afraid to do what was necessary to move forward, either as a person or in physics. I think we have all learned from him. Elly Driessen, Conference Coordinator
I have many memories of Erich Vogt but there is one that I want to share. Erich was giving a talk on some theoretical work that he had recently completed. It was during a conference in Tennessee as I recall during the 1960’s and to show slides in a large lecture hall in those days required the use of a carbon arc projector. Those projectors ran quite hot and Eric figured out a novel way to make use of the heat. His slide showed a curved line representing his theoretical result and a bunch of black blobs representing the latest results from experiments. The blobs were far above the black line so it appeared that the theory did not work very well. Erich was confidently forecasting that over time experimental results would come down to meet his predictions, which he knew were correct. While he was speaking some of the audience let out gasps. The dots were moving down and continued to do so until they rested on the theoretical curve. It is amazing what some black tape and wax will do to resolve differences between theory and experiment. W. John McDonald, Colleague and Friend
Lucky for me that Erich never learned PowerPoint.
When I was a graduate student he was an imposing figure with a common touch who still embodied the romantic 'secular priesthood' notion of scientific life harboured by idealistic (naive ?) students like myself. I loved him for it.
I became a 'colleague' when he asked me to 'help' him with a PowerPoint presentation, the first of many such presentations I prepared for him in later years. I looked forward to each of them, not only for the priceless science and history lessons, but for the stories. Oh, those stories !
Erich did a great many things for me, but those stories are one gift that will last me a lifetime.
God Bless You, Erich. Marcello Pavan, Student, Colleague
I was one of Dr. Vogt’s undergraduate students in the late 1980’s. I remember fondly his seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm for physics and teaching. He was one of my absolute favourite professors and I appreciated that he treated us all with such kindness. Alison Bird, Past Student
Dr. Vogt was the Director when I joined TRIUMF in 1982. He was a kind person, full of humour and put you at ease whenever you had to interact with him. When he found out that I was originally from Sri Lanka, he invariably greeted me first in Sinhala. He will always be remembered with gratitude and affection. Doris Joseph, Former Employee
I had Dr. Vogt for Pysics 120 back in 1972, one of the highlights of that year was a visit we took as a class to the under-construction TRIUMF. When the time came for my daughter to attend university, she chose UBC (2000), she also had Dr. Vogt for the same class and very much enjoyed him. David Swinnard, Physics 120, 1972
Back in 1965 I had the fortune to have Dr. Erich Vogt as professor during my student years at UBC. I remember with fondness the times that we students had to “review” a just published article about latest developments in nuclear physics. After each of us gave a “presentation” at the UBC physics department we moved to his close- by home on campus where his wife Barbara had prepared a delicious evening snack for us. If I remember correctly, we students were more interested at that moment on the snacks than on physics! I should add that after getting my Ph.D. in physics at UBC I joined PSI (formerly SIN-Swiss Institute for Nuclear Research) and I learned there that Erich’s ancestors came from a village closed by to PSI namely Villigen! Erich, my wife and I remember you and Barbara with affection. We missed both of you. Miguel and Margarete Olivo
My Friend Erich
With tears in my eyes I am writing this last letter to you, Erich. I know that you will not read it, but I want to end our contacts with a personal letter addressed to you. Excuse me for not elaborating on your great achievements in science, in directing TRIUMF, in assisting laboratories around the world to improve their activities, or in editing so many physics books. I am sure that other friends of yours will do so. It’s just that you are such a unique person and such a good friend since the day we met 35 years ago, when you came to meet Rivka and me at the Vancouver Airport, that I prefer to remind you (and myself) of some of the great moments that we have spent together - the serious events as well as the lighter ones.
Our arguments over scientific problems made me a better physicist, and I learned a great deal from you how to improve my teaching of physics; so much so in fact that I invited you a few years ago to Tel Aviv University to teach our first-year students for one week, so that our teachers would see what good teaching really is. I also want to thank you for reading my books and for the many corrections and suggestions that you made prior to publication.
I recall that my first question to you was why you had so many foreigners in the lab, and you said that this made the lab international, and therefore better. "And why do you have so many Israelis and other Jews?" I asked; and you said that you admire the Jews for their contributions to physics, medicine, and other fields of science.
Barbara and you spent many days together with us in Vancouver, Japan, Tel Aviv, Rome, as well as in Santa Catherina in the Sinai Desert, where you could not take off the tight gallabiyas, which the Bedouins had dressed you in. And mentioning Japan, I recall seeing you and Barbara walking in the streets of Kyoto, laughing. You told us that you had bathed in the big bath of the Ryokan, and when you finished, you emptied the bath. Later you heard the owner shouting since the full bath was for the use of all guests.
I recall that on a cruise which we all took with Jan and Parker Alford, in the Mediterranean Sea, I asked you when the two of us were alone in one of the coast cities, why we always rent an expensive big car with a chauffeur. And you said, "Let’s quickly rent a car without a chauffeur, before the others come back." This reminds me of another incident when I told you at TRIUMF that you had been taking us to so many good restaurants in town, and asked why you don't try a MacDonald’s once. And you said, "I will always go to MacDonald’s with you to eat lunch, but on one condition, that you don't tell Barbara."
At this point I would like to remind you of one of your funniest stories, which appears in the books you have written on the history of Barbara's family and of yours. One day at Princeton Barbara bought you a complete set of clothes, wanting to introduce you properly dressed to her parents. On the way to the concert, dressed in a new suit and tie, Barbara said, "Look at your feet!" You looked down and saw that you had forgotten to wear shoes.
There are many other anecdotes that I can remind you of, but let me end by telling your most favorite one, which you always told when Rivka and I were present. During one of those dinners on your terrace, in the presence of many distinguished scientists, I told you that it was our wedding anniversary. You waited patiently, and when Barbara served Rivka a huge piece of a Pavlova cake, Rivka called out with a smile, "Is this all that I get?" You jumped up, hushed everybody, and said, "Since their wedding night, Avivi has always heard Rivka complain, "Is this all that I get'?"
I have learned so much physics, biology, and geography from you, Erich. I will miss your jokes, as well as our hot discussions about science and politics; In fact, my computer is full of those discussions. I consider myself fortunate to have had a friend like you, Erich, for so many years. Good bye my friend! Avivi I. Yavin, Friend and Colleague
I have many fond memories of Erich to cherish, and will share only a couple. In the six months before becoming director, Erich made an extensive trip around the world consulting with many expat Canadians (I was a postdoc at SIN then) about their perceptions of TRIUMF. This effort made me as an individual feel important to the lab…. I think he always did that with people. Years later, Erich would astonish visiting scientists by dropping into the counting rooms at 07:30 on a Monday morning to see how the experiments had gone: His leadership was top notch and personal. His enthusiasm was contagious! Thank-you Erich….we will miss you! Ted Mathie, Colleague and Friend
Erich had vision that was informed by his background, education, passion, and fascination with science. Those of us who worked with, and for him, were fortunate to learn from the many facets of his understanding of nature. He repeatedly showed the ability and enthusiasm to share it with us. His communication skills were outstanding, not only because he could speak to a large room with nothing but his vocal amplification.
What I have admired most over many years, and will remember most fondly of him, was his scientific integrity. While dealing with the challenges of running a laboratory and fighting the political battles to support its future, he put the science first. In public and in private, he would not let a demonstrably inaccurate assertion pass without challenge, and had no tolerance for claims that could not be supported. To him, there was no magic in the natural world, even though it might have seemed that way. Glen Marshall, Colleague and Admirer
It is extremely sad to hear that Erich Vogt passed away.
I knew him since 1970’s, but the first strong impression was in the early of 1980 in Berkeley when he chaired a session for my talk. I was very nervous on this talk since it would decide the fate of the Bevalac. During my talk he came to me and whispered something to me, but I was not able to understand his statement. The statement was very clear: "you have 10 minutes left". However, this statement was given by Japanese so that I was not able to catch it easily, since no one expect Japanese in the US.
We had many occasions with him.
When I was at Columbia University he came to us to celebrate the 80th Birthday of C. S. Wu in the early of 1990 and gave an excellent talk. Invitation was my idea and he gladly accepted it. When I started JHF (same as J-PARC) in the late of 1990, he took care of the chair of the review committee where T. D. Lee, A. Arima. M. Koshiba, and other people there. Then, when J-PARC was completed in 2009, I invited him to give a talk at the Inauguration Ceremony. He always told me that J-PARC was his product. This is correct.
He has been a long friend of us and a great supporter to us. We miss him very much. I pray sincerely from Japan his eternal peace on him. Shoji Nagamiya, Friend and Long-term Supporter
After Erich instigated my joining UBC in 1968 I I had been his Chalk River summer student 1961 and 1962), I appeared with him , simultaneously "onstage" teaching the enriched P120 course for several years..an educational experience !
remember "SEMINAR" announcements by Erich booming thru the TRIUMF corridors at a volume level audible even to the near-deaf !
Erich may be the only colleague I knew who really enjoyed taking exams home for marking. Doug Beder, Colleague
Erich kindly spoke at my retirement and he mentioned that he had know me longer than anyone at TRIUMF. Erich and my father were UBC grad students when I was a baby. Barbara and Erich will always be thought of as family friends with a kind word and a thought for several Pearce generations. Erich will be remembered as a colleague of Mike Pearce and myself and a great director during my TRIUMF career. David R. Pearce, Family Friend and Colleague
I first met Dr. Vogt after he gave a very motivating speech at Laval University (Quebec) in 1968. I was a fourth-year Engineering Physics student seeking to pursue a Master of Science degree at a different university. Dr. Vogt sparked my interest in UBC where he became my initial thesis supervisor.
After obtaining my Master Degree in Physics at TRIUMF, I switched fields to study Economics but nonetheless always maintained a warm and friendly relationship with Dr. Vogt. He was so enthusiastic about physics and so dedicated to science that it was always a pleasure to be in his company.
He had also a sense of humor. Those were the years of the FLQ crisis in Quebec. When one of the FLQ members was arrested, he told police his name was Bolduc, while his real name was Simard. From that day, Dr Vogt kept calling me Simard.
While at UBC, I met the girl that would become my partner-in-life and, by coincidence, it turned out that one of her closest friend was -and still is- Susan Vogt, the eldest daughter of Dr. Vogt. Through that family connection, I was able to always remain in contact with Dr. Vogt.
We met a few times during my many visits to Vancouver, on a few occasions together we toured TRIUMF, where he was revered. One of our last exchanges was on the opinion he wrote in “Physics in Canada” in 2011 on the financing of a fusion reactor project. Dr. Vogt was never afraid of making his opinions clearly known.
I consider myself privileged to have been able to remain in touch with Dr. Vogt over so many years. Susan knows how much I liked him. Jean Louis Bolduc, Former Student
I have had the privilege of being the recipient of more than 20 Christmas cakes from Erich, you know these 10105 cm3 ( Erich liked metric systems) cakes in their neat cardboard boxes with a distinctive marzipan decoration on top ( always a different one as Erich kept accurate records of each ) which you found on your desk or mailbox around Dec 15th.
Erich asked me to be his deputy back in July 1988 when he received funding for the Kaon Project Definition Study and wanted someone to keep the TRIUMF science program going while he was travelling the world. He had decided that what he called my “Jesuit-stic” up-bringing in the French education system would be a good balance to his flamboyant and metaphoric style, and we clicked together admirably. For example, at a workshop in Torino (Oct 1989) to convince the Italians and European physicists to join KAON, he said:
“ Earlier speakers have spoken about the KAON facility and its five rings. Let me also remind you about the fact that Vancouver and TRIUMF, though nine times zones away from Torino, are located in a Mediterranean settings and are very hospitable and congenial to European scientists. We know you will come”. I reminded him after that I could not remember seeing so many olive trees in “ Mediterranean” BC. He thought for a second and said: “... but fig trees we have and lots of tomatoes as I grow in my garden”. I learned a lot from his management techniques, especially from his people skills: he was superb at getting people’s attention and friendship, be it by keeping track of the birthday of each employee and calling them on that day, having everyone greeted in his(her) own mother tongue or having a joke to break the ice on first encounter, treating visitors like family friends, picking them at the airport, inviting them to his house for the famous July reunion on his deck, etc .
He was a superb teacher, communicator and writer: I enjoyed his writing skills a lot and recall that you better be on the good side of his acerbic prose as the proponents of Cold Fusion found out in his comments to the editor in the local press . He didn’t tolerate what he called non-sense science and was not afraid to say so. He was a trail blazer (as many visitors found out on an unexpected hike to Garibaldi lake early on Sunday morning!!!) who moved science to the forefront of the Vancouver and Canadian scene. He deeply believed in excellence, in first class science and scientists.
I , like Erich, am a Volvo addict and I guess it tells a lot about our approach to life and family. I will always be grateful for the trust he expressed in me and for his friendship. My sons remember to this day how he described what I was doing at TRIUMF back in the late 70’s: “ You know what your dad is doing at TRIUMF... He is searching for nothing ... but a very important nothing!”. That was typical Erich . Erich would have understood why I am not able to be present on Saturday for the celebration of his life: He would not have me cancel my Japan trip to J-PARC to chair its International Advisory Committee , and in fact during my last conversation with him in VGH, he inquired how J-PARC was doing: clearly J-PARC ‘s KAON was still very much on his mind.
Au revoir Erich et un grand merci pour tout. John-Michel Poutissou, Deputy to Erich from 1988 to 1994
Erich Vogt was an inspiring leader, a great scientist, an enthusiastic teacher, a thoughtful mentor, and a loyal friend.
I first knew Erich as Jonathan’s Dad when I was at U. Hill elementary school in the 1960’s -- always full of vigor and enthusiasm, he seemed almost larger than life. We used to attend the Open House events at UBC in the 60’s and 70’s. I remember great magic shows, physics demonstrations and pageants – Erich lining up various physics dept. professors to dress up as Galileo and Aristotle and drop things from the bell tower to demonstrate gravity – all great fun, and these had a lasting impression on people.
I never attended UBC, but knew from friends and colleagues that Erich loved teaching, and I heard some stories from my Dad who used to share the first year mechanics course with Erich for many years. They worked hard and had great fun doing it. When my father retired in the mid-70’s, Erich arranged a section to be carved out of the men’s room wall and presented to him as a retirement gift– a much treasured piece of graffiti complementing the teaching effort. Never mind that it was a big heavy concrete block that formed part of the building structure – a little thing like that would not stop Erich!
Much later when I joined the University of Manitoba and started to work on experiments at TRIUMF, I was fortunate to do so initially under Erich Vogt’s leadership. Those included the long hard fight to establish funding for a KAON factory, which almost succeeded. Along the way, Erich steadily built support and recognition for TRIUMF across the country, involving many new universities in the consortium. Times were hard, and the lab’s funding was uncertain for a long period. Erich kept his team in place by sheer force of personality; he could always find some way to read encouragement in a message that others would have seen the opposite. One quote comes easily to mind: “we’ve just been told that the government will fund our KAON project when hell freezes over – this is extremely good news; it is the first time they have committed to a date!”
I remember sitting through many long nights on the “graveyard” shift for experiments, bleary eyed by the end and waiting for relief of the next crew to start at 8 am – we always looked forward to Erich, who would come roaring down the hallways and visit all the counting houses well before 8 am each morning, enthusiastic to hear how things had gone overnight – did we have any discoveries for him today, etc. His care and encouragement of each individual working on the TRIUMF team, and his incredible passion and drive for excellent research that could be done right here in Canada -- the best place in the world for what was pursued at TRIUMF – made him a simply amazing lab director. He contributed so much to Canadian physics research and teaching in Canada and made a profound impact on many people. Those were great days. Erich Vogt will be sorely missed. Shelley (Mann) Page, Friend, Physicist, TRIUMF Experimenter
With Erich’s passing, Canada has lost a great scientist, an inspiring leader, a friend and mentor to generations of scientists and a tireless spokesman for high quality Canadian science. I can remember him speaking at Chalk River back in the 1970’s about the development of the TRIUMF accelerator, enthusiastically describing how even a theorist like him could participate in the construction work and make sure that the accelerator could produce scientific results in a timely way. He went on to be an inspiring Director for the laboratory, making TRIUMF a highly respected international laboratory. This development was a tribute to Erich’s personality, always enthusiastic, friendly, reaching out to the international community, insisting on high quality in the science being pursued but also providing a welcome atmosphere in the laboratory so that people were inspired to work there. I can remember visiting TRIUMF and observing how the laboratory had developed under his leadership, including the wonderful way that he and Barbara welcomed people socially and made them feel at home. Erich’s interest in science and young people continued past his formal retirement with the undergraduate teaching that he loved so much. I am very grateful to have known Erich and to be one of the many who have been inspired by his life. Art McDonald, Fellow Scientist and Friend
I met first Dr. Vogt - Eric as he later told me, back in 1987 when I joined TRIUMF. I was a young engineer recently arrived from Italy. Those were the years preparing for the Kaon Factory funding run. I was immediately swept by the passion and the vision of Eric on the Kaon mission and took an interest in BC and Canadian federal political system w.r.t the relationship with TRIUMF.
Eric often remarked that Canada science was somehow still wrapped in a bronze medal mentality. His ambition was to move it into the Gold Medal arena. It would require sacrifices, but it was worth it because he felt the intellectual value of the Canadian scientists was not less than the American or European counterpart. Our young talent needed a venue were to practice to aspire to greater things.
Eric was a remarkable scientist, a superb leader, a fantastic teacher. What I remember best was is very friendly and warm personality, his love for music and his great memory. He could remember vividly the most minute detail while at the same time have the big picture well into focus. Mentoring was in his nature and I was privileged to work under his leadership for many years, while he was TRIUMF’s director. After he retired, we often had chats in the corridors of TRIUMF. His daily presence in the laboratory gave a sense of continuity and stability. We are going to miss his wisdom, his charisma and his warmth. At the same time we remember him for the qualities that make a great human being on many levels. He was a “Mensch”. Dr. Vogt, Arrivederci and Requiem in Pace. Franco Mammarella, TRIUMF Employee and Friend
You have been one of my few very best respected friends since the beginning of 1970's, when we, the University of Tokyo group, started exploring meson science with young colleagues at the new meson factory TRIUMF that was about to be born. We were heartily welcome by you. Without your enthusiastic, passionate and warm support and hospitality to persuade the seeds and nurseries to come oversea from Tokyo, our fruitful trees of today's international collaboration could never have been realized.
I remember vividly our common difficult time when you were struggling to push forward our future projects. We shared the same pleasure (and sorrow) in various circumstances. I was always moved by your strong wish to jump over severe obstacles, admiring your enormously broad-minded spirit. All these efforts have led us to the glory of the present day.
Dear Erich: Thank you very much for your ever lasting dedication to scientific development and warm friendship. We wish you a peaceful rest with Barbara.
With deep condolence. Yamazaki Toshimitsu and Kuniko Yamazaki, Colleague and Friends
Dr. Vogt was Director of TRIUMF when I joined in 1989. I started work in the Director’s office assisting his Office Manager and Admin. Assistant and hence had the privilege of interacting closely with him. After his retirement, I continued to do work for him, especially typing the physics papers when he began teaching First Year Physics at UBC. In fact, when it came to exam time, he would always joke that I could make money selling the exam papers – such was his sense of humour!
If you ever bumped into Dr. Vogt on the corridors of TRIUMF, he would always greet you in your mother tongue. At Christmas he never failed to bake his delicious Fruit Cake and I was fortunate to have been a recipient of same since 1989. In fact last Christmas he told me he was unable to make Fruit Cake but would do so this year – sadly it was not meant to be.
Dr. Vogt’s presence at TRIUMF will be greatly missed but his memory will last forever!
Rest in Peace, Dr. Vogt. Raso Samarasekera, TRIUMF Employee
I’m sure everyone is aware of Erich’s extensive contributions so I would just like to add a few personal observations.
Erich was for a time UBC’s Vice-President of Faculty and Student Affairs. One of his first actions in this role was to recognize the importance of Graduate Fellowships and he proposed a substantial increase in the UGF budget, which has subsequently benefited not only years of graduate students but also UBC’s ability to attract and retain top caliber students who add their strength to our scholarship and research.
Erich’s loyal devotion and concern for his ailing colleagues; in particular Ken Mann, John Warren and George Volkoff, was exemplary and he visited them regularly. When Ken could no longer play golf, Erich bought him a computer golf game to keep his spirits up; I know he was very pleased to be able to tell John Warren before he died that the Warren Chair had been largely funded and I know he devoted much time to accompanying George Volkoff to cultural events while George was a patient in the Purdy Pavilion.
Finally, I would remark that Erich never seemed to bear a grudge. Erich moved on, the future was more in focus than the past; the future which he approached with his unquenchable enthusiasm for the ideas he felt worth fighting for. David Llewelyn Williams, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Graduate Studies Associate Dean, etc.
Erich was a very caring and pleasant person. He would greet everyone by name & wouldn't forget to say Happy Birthday in the hallway. He was very warm and kind. Naimat Khan, TRIUMF Employee
My name is Ivan Entchevitch. I am the first Bulgarian scientist invited in 1987 to work in TRIUMF. The name and the works of Prof. Erich Vogt are well known and highly valuated between the particle physicists around the world. Maybe his gardening skills and achievements, including pears pruning, hanging strawberries cultivating and selecting seedless tomato were a hidden hobby, deserving the admiration from many of us. But most of all I respect the human nature of Erich’s personality, demonstrated in the case described below. In the end 1990 PET scanning revealed some cancer indication in my right kidney. Urgent life saving kidney removal surgery was proposed and executed in UBC Hospital the evening of 20-th January 1991. The next morning getting out of the anesthesia the first person I recognized was Erich Vogt, sitting on the corner of my bed. Minutes later my wife and sons appeared and hugged me. Erich’s valuable support did not finish – almost 10 years afterwards he should prove to Immigration Canada that my health is not going to demand extreme resources from the Canadian social and medical system. It is hard to express the gratitude of my whole family to him. Ivan Entchevitch, Colleague, Vancouver, March 4-th, 2014
I was always amazed by his energy and his lucidity. It is an inspiration. Greg Hackman, Worked at TRIUMF
Erich was my father's best friend and I remember all the kindnesses he and Barbara did to both my father and mother. And I remember the second half of the story about the trip to Lake Garibaldi with the Chinese delegation. Not only did Erich get a bus driver's licence specially for the occasion, he also carried two big watermelons up in his backpack to share with the Chinese. Were they ever surprised! Erich was a friend to all of us and we will miss him very much. Alex Volkoff, Family Friend
Erich was the epitome of Neil de Grasse Tyson's remark that being a scientist means you never have to grow up. Dave & Pam Gurd, TRIUMF Employee
when we were living in Paris, Eric was invited for a breakfast at the White House with the US president. His wife sudden illness made him him decline the invitation, That was very impressive for the female partner of equally workaholic physicist Bon voyage Eric. Margaretha Van Oers, Friends
We remember with fondness the wonderful support Erich showed in enabling research into Parkinson's disease. Sorry we couldn't be here today. Susan and Donald Calne, Colleague
One of Erich and Barbara’s memorable summer parties was held on Bastille Day. Upon realizing what date had been chosen, Erich told us to dress accordingly. Four of us did: Jeff and Darrilynn Child (Jeff was NRC’s liaison with TRIUMF) and Corlin and I. Everyone laughed when we arrived dressed for the French Revolution, but Erich rushed into to the house, reappeared in full, colourful academic garb and proceeded to lead a parade around the garden singing the Marseillaise! Corlin & Elizabeth Bordeaux, Corlin was CFO of TRIUMPH
Erich was a truly inspirational colleague and a wonderful teacher. Many years ago, I taught the second term of Erich’s first year course which was probably not a clever thing to do because following him meant that one’s teaching evaluation by the students suffered badly. Nevertheless, one appreciated the extraordinary rapport he shared with the class. He attended some of my first lectures to check that I was teaching well enough to his class and I was thankful that he appeared reasonably satisfied. The lectures were at 8.00 am and, when he was teaching, Erich used to arrive an hour earlier so that students could consult with him individually. When I was involved in administration, I also used to go into the Department at 7.00 am, and often would go to chat with Erich to get his perspective on various issues which, of course, he was happy give. He had vision and pursued his goals with purpose and unbounded enthusiasm, but always with honesty and fairness. His memory will be revered by his colleagues and the thousands of students who were lucky to be taught by him. Brian Turrell, Colleague
As the “chair” of the TRIUMF Seminar Committee from 2005-2014, I will not soon forget the gentle encouragement Erich regularly offered me. One of the most pleasant tasks associated with the job was to scream “Seminar!” at the top of my lungs to announce a talk at the end of the theory corridor, right next to Erich’s office, because this part of the building had not been outfitted with an intercom system presumably to allow the theorists to work without distraction. If Erich were in his office, as he usually was at this time, he would invariably answer me by screaming “Louder!” at the top of his lungs. This unsolicited advice was always taken in the spirit in which it was delivered.
As others have remarked, Erich had an innate generosity and an uncanny ability to relate to each unique human being fortunate enough to encounter him. I could share a small example from my own experience. He loved music very much and once attended a performance by an a cappella choir in which I sang. The next week when I saw him at the lab he lent me a videotape of an exquisite performance of Monteverdi’s “Madrigali Erotici” by a favourite British singing group of mine. I could only marvel once again at his profound knowledge, impeccable taste, and kindhearted generosity.
Erich will be missed dearly by the many people he touched. Barry Davids, Colleague
I am grateful for the many moving, interesting and enlightening comments about Erich from those of you who have commented before me. Taken together they are a great tribute to a great man, and, not coincidentally one of the best salesman for science in his generation. How lucky we all were to have known Erich and Barbara! He has left an enduring legacy, not least in his children and grandchildren. My best wishes to all of them. John Madden, TRIUMF Advisory Brd., Science World, Van. Institute etc.
Erich was my first physics professor. I had never thought about pursuing a degree in physics, let alone a career, before taking his P120 class. But his class (co-taught with Bill Dalby) was fun, and opened my eyes to the world of physics. If I had not been inspired by Erich in his class, I probably would not have become a physicist (when the hot field then was computer science).
I still remember a few problems in my first P120 homework assignment. At that time, I wondered why he would assign problems such as "How many piano tuners are there in Vancouver?" or "How many trees are required for printing all the textbooks used in the universities in BC this year?" to a class of young students who were taught to grind out the last significant digit in every calculation in high school (or points will be deducted). Little did I know that he was trying to get us to think about the big picture, to get insights when dissecting problems, and not getting bogged down by mundane calculations. Other assignments were similar --- the emphasis was on getting an intuitive feel and very little on applying difficult mathematics.
Every time I do order-of-magnitude back-of-envelope calculations these days, I think of Erich's P120 class. Thank you, Erich! Rest in peace! Alan Poon, P120 Student (1987-88)
Erich Vogt was incredibly influential and supportive of the entire Canadian nuclear physics community, not just at TRIUMF, but nation-wide. On behalf of the Canadian Institute of Nuclear Physics, I would like to offer our heart-felt condolences to the family. Erich was truly a great man. Garth Huber, Colleague
Having had the good fortune to have known Erich for almost 50 years, it’s hard to know where to begin – or stop – and following the other tributes, to say anything fresh. But there are a couple of areas where I have particular reason to be grateful to him, and which in any case deserve emphasis.
Firstly, Erich was probably the critical person in getting the TRIUMF project funded in the first place (a minor consequence of this being my staying on in Canada). While the nuclear physicists at the local universities had the ambition for a major project and sufficient technical expertise to make a proposal credible, Erich, with his previous experience at Chalk River, brought the political skills and close knowledge of the eastern establishment, both scientific and governmental, that were crucial to success. At the beginning, in the absence of John Warren on a year’s sabbatical, he masterminded the two scientific proposals – the first in late 1965 for study money, and then a fuller one a year later for complete funding - and followed through by leading the funding campaign, crowned by success in early 1968.
Nine years later, while Chairman of the TRIUMF Board of Management, he became a strong supporter of Reg Richardson’s and my group’s studies of a kaon factory - an extension of TRIUMF with Nobel Prize potential. When he became Director in 1981 this evolved into the Kaon-Antiproton-Otherhadron-Neutrino Factory (KAON) project and became one of his principal aims for the lab. Although by 1991 KAON had gained the support of the US DOE-NSF's Feshbach Committee over rival US proposals, promises of one-third of the $708 million cost each from the Federal and Provincial governments, and offers of significant financial contributions from European countries, sadly these were insufficient to gain final approval. Another example of what Erich termed Canada’s “bronze-medal mentality”. Throughout this long campaign, Erich was the tireless and ever-persuasive champion of the cause. At the same time, he was careful to support the development of TISOL and studies of an eventual radioactive ion beam accelerator (ISAC), ensuring that TRIUMF was left with a fall-back project.
A great man, greatly missed. Thank you, Erich! Mike Craddock, Colleague at UBC and TRIUMF
I first met Erich when I was a teenager in the 1960's at the home of my sister Lois in West Vancouver. Erich and Barbara were visiting and my sister and I were entertaining the company with our piano playing prowess (which was not all that remarkable)......
Erich then sat down at the baby grand and regaled us with the Moonlight Sonata. We were astounded because we understood that he was not a piano player. We thought he was a musical genius!
Recently I was favored with a wedge of Erich's Christmas cake, rich with nuts, fruit and brandy. I was pleased to have Erich visit - the drive from his house to Surrey was about an hour - on two occasions with information about the Greenfield family history. If not for Erich, "The Moose Jaw Saga", my family's history would not have existed, and the story lost in the mists of time.
Erich's family and friends have had to say goodbye to a great man but we have so much to remember. Ann Gorseth, Cousin by Marriage