Memories of Simon Swordy


In lieu of flowers, the family suggests any memorial contributions be sent to:
The Simon Swordy Memorial Fund
The University of Chicago Medical Center Development Office
1170 E. 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
Attn: Amanda Butchko





Comments:
As a graduate student at LASR I was fortunate to also experience Simon's musical side; his talent, creativity and capacity to turn any event--no matter how commonplace--into a humorous adventure of epic proportions were no less prodigious there than in his scientific research. I played keyboards in a short-lived band Simon created called 'The Phasors on Stun'. Simon's signature rythym guitar---a reverse strung right handed Gibson SG copy to accommodate him being a lefty--- *was* the band to a large extent and he penned a number of wonderful original songs that he patiently taught us. He went on to record a lot of his original material with 'Lust for Luxury' and other ensembles. I and the rest of the 'Phasors' were all so very lucky to witness his musical genius and dazzle up close and personal from the best seats in the house.

Added: July 30, 2010
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In 1979, I was the Project Scientist for the Spacelab II instrument (CRN) when Simon was hired by Peter Meyer (he interviewed him at Heathrow airport) to work with us on the project. Throughout the design, construction and data analysis, Simon made invaluable contributions and this work culminated in several very important papers.

For the 10 years of so that I worked with Simon, I loved his great sense of humor, his dedication, his fantastic knowledge of physics and his willingness to tackle anything thrown at him. He was already showing his potential to be a great experimental physicist – which he became.

His death came as a total surprise as I was unaware of his medical problems. Once I found out, I had trouble sleeping for days and kept reminiscing of the things we had done together, his current projects now on hold and how hard it would be for his family. He was way too young for this and will greatly be missed.

My condolences to Jo, his children and his family.


Added: July 30, 2010
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We are deeply saddened by Simon’s passing.
Simon and we have been friends for 30 years since I worked as a research associate under Peter Meyer at EFI. I shared my office (LASR 226) with Simon for two years (1980-82). Simon was always full of humour and insightful. I remember he often said “English in US is crazy like the weather in Chicago”. In the meantime, one day Simon told me his girl friend from London, Jo, has arrived in Chicago. From the next day of her arrival my life style changed drastically. I had to search for Simon almost every day from room to room in LASR and the accelerator building in EFI, because Jo gave a call to Simon every day around 5 o’clock.
Simon was often absent from our room, because he was quite busy for building new “Chicago Egg” at that time. We will remember forever one nice evening spent with Jo and Simon in a Mexican restaurant in the North.
Our deepest condolences to Josephine and family.

Shohei Yanagita
Mariko Yanagita


Added: July 30, 2010
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I worked as an undergraduate for Professor Swordy on the CREAM project. He inspired me, and taught me that it isn't only what you do in life, but also how you do it. I will miss him greatly.

Added: July 29, 2010
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Simon was a born leader, confident and knowledgeable and could with a few words quiet a roomful of spirited physicists, bringing us all back together, unified and marching as one, always for the science. He had great scientific vision which spanned multiple disciplines and many continents. He could build things and make them work. I have seen him, on the fly, put together a widget to fix some broken hardware. He was funny, clever, and witty and even rebellious at times. I remember Simon when he first came to Argonne and enticed us to join him and Chicago in the world of very high energy gamma-rays and we did. We will miss him terribly.
Our sympathy to his family.


Added: July 28, 2010
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Simon was just a wonderful person. When others worried, he seemed to be able to take it lightly, in this form exhibiting a strength which few people have. At the same time he was the prime motor behind the continuation of Chicago's leading role in cosmic ray physics over the last fifty years. And he realized that there was a deep connection between the arriving cosmic rays at the top of the Earth's atmosphere and the high energy gamma rays from everywhere in the Universe. As such he had also turned to this field without deserting more traditional grounds. We will miss his intellectual depth, his moral support in difficult circumstances, and his laughs.

Added: July 28, 2010
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I miss Simon so much already- his wry sense of humor, his rueful delight in the oddities he had to deal with as Director of EFI, his humbleness and integrity, and above all his deep scientific wisdom and judgment as a colleague.

Added: July 27, 2010
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I was not prepared to lose Simon so quickly as he was well my junior, but I sense that when people are spiritually complete, they may have to leave the rest of us “early”. Originally I'd been quite afraid of this big bear of a man: he was a gruff presence in meetings. And when he became my supervisor, my anxiety about him accelerated. Then he brought over some of his personal things, among them a plastic “dalek” from Doctor Who. I finally got the nerve up to ask him why a dalek graced his desk. He told me that once he had been quite afraid of these things whenever they appeared on TV: this figure was given him by his Mother (?) to remind him of fears he had already conquered. This charming story forever defused my fears of him. We went on to enjoy a wonderful 3 years, graced by his imaginative, Anglo wit and warmth. He’s done us all here such good, and now there’s quite a hole in our hearts because we enjoyed the gift of him in our lives. Please accept our condolences.

Added: July 27, 2010
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I have the deepest respect and admiration for Simon both as a colleague and as a human being. At the risk of being, as Simon would put it, 'the master of the bleeding obvious', he was one of those rare individuals possessing both total professional competance and a kind, generous, and of course witty nature. I have many fond memories of time spent with Simon, and will greatly miss his insight, humor, and the occasional jam session. He was one of the good ones.

Added: July 27, 2010
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Simon and I have been friends for 30 years starting with my employment as secretary for the Meyer/Muller Spacelab group back in the early 80s. Since then, I've seen him practically everyday. He kept me laughing. Used to tease me about my eating habits. He's the only one around here who could get away with that!!! Such an upbeat person, even through portions of his illness. My heart breaks for his family. LASR will never be the same without Simon here.

Thanks Simon for being so nice to me all these years! Class A Guy!


Added: July 27, 2010
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