Cary Lu

Steve Rosen[hidden]

To: Ellen, Meredith, and Nathaniel

I was deeply saddened to learn of Cary's death by reading his obituary in the New York Times. Thank you for sending a note. Otherwise, never having met his new family, I wasn't sure how to make contact.

At the time of his death, I had known Cary for over 35 years. We were physics majors together at UC Berkeley. We quickly developed an affinity for one another because of our strong interest in biology. Both of us wanted to apply rigorous mathematical and physical thinking to the problems of biology, which in the end we did. I remember as juniors we took an outstanding cell biology course from Dan Mazia. Cary and I would get together right after lecture and go through our notes. The material was very challenging, and we would spend much of the time debating what was said. What emerged from these extended discussions was a real synthesis of the lecture- we really understood it! I have never gotten more out of a course than that one, and I think Cary would have said the same. Another result was that a bond was formed between us.

After completing my physics degree, I and my wife Sue (whom Cary also met while we were in Berkeley) went off to Cornell University where I studied neurobiology. I lost contact with Cary over this 5 year period. However, when I returned to California to do a postdoc at UCSD, somehow Cary found me and this was well before the internet! I remember Cary showing up in my lab and offering to give us a lecture on what the eye fixates on. Cary had completed his Ph.D. in Biology at Caltech and had made a name for himself in the physics of visual perception. He was becoming somewhat of a poular science lecturer. I saw him several other times in San Diego.

When Sue and I moved to San Francisco to take up a faculty position at UCSF, we kept in contact. He would visit us from time to time. He stayed with us on at least one occasion. He reciprocated twice. Once was when I returning from a trip to Puerto Rico and I stayed with him in New York City for 3-4 days. He was residing at the Mayflower Hotel while he worked at the Children's Television workshop. I clearly remember his disdain at my interest in visiting tourist sites. Cary was not one to hide his opinions because of politeness, certainly not around me. No offense was meant, none was taken. Cary was just being himself, honest to the core. I also remember Cary's great glee in finding bargains in New York City. He knew where we could get the best meals at the lowest possible price. The second time I visited Cary was when he was living in Boston while working on High Technology. His apartment looked like a hi-fi repair shop. He told me with great pride how he would buy broken stereo receivers for 5 dollars or less, fix them up and give them to friends for gifts.

After he moved to Washington state, I saw Cary only a few more times. I followed the ascendancy of his career by seeing his books and numerous articles in computer magazines. Sue ran into him once at a Macworld fair. After he finally settled down as a married man, I lost touch. I am really sorry that I didn't maintain contact. It would have so easy by email. Of course, I would have had to have something substantive to say in my communications, because Cary was not one to waste his time with small talk.

Cary was a unique person. He was incredibly insightful and creative and had so much more to offer to the world of computers and communications. The word guru really fits. I will miss his intellect, but I will miss him as a friend. Though he sometimes showed a no-nonsense exterior with a bemused air about him, I always knew that he had a kind heart and really cared about how Sue and I were doing.

With my best wishes and my deepest condolences,

Steve Rosen