Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed



A Richard Crandall '69 Remembrance by Sam Danon

Richard Crandall

I heard that Richard is gone.  I'm very saddened by the news.  I already knew him, though not in the classroom, when he was an undergraduate, and then afterwards as a colleague.  In those early years, when faculty and students from different and nominally unrelated disciplines were less insular, Gail Kelly, Richard and I sometimes had dinner together at Gail’s house, on Glenwood Street; I’d bring the oysters, Richard the wine, and Gail did the rest. It was great fun, and, with Gail present, the conversation was always animated. --- Once in a while I’d attend his “wild” parties; the liquor flowed, but the music was too loud for me, so I would not stay too long. --- Richard would often ask me to translate something for him from French, or give him the etymology of a word, or locate a quotation by a French author he had come across; the last such quote he asked me to identify was a short paragraph from Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus.” I never found out what he needed it for. --- When he had discovered another prime number, he was so excited that he stopped me on campus to tell me about it; he knew that the import of his discovery was lost on me, except of course for it’s being a discovery. --- Once, in the 1980s, after reading an article on deconstruction and quantum theory, I stopped by his office with my simpleminded questions. That’s when he named me something like “Distinguished Quantum Professor of Henry Street.” --- Over lunch one day, it became clear that we were both given to hypochondria; he subsequently would greet me in the street with, "Hi Sam, are we enjoying bad health?" --- I hadn’t heard from Richard for the past two to three years or so, but I knew he was around, building something complicated or writing a book or urging and guiding students and colleagues in the right direction.  I'll miss him.

---Samuel Danon [French, 1962–2000]
Professor Emeritus

Crandall Memorial Jan. 26

Richard Crandall

Please join us for a memorial to honor the late Richard Crandall ’69 [physics 1978–2012], on Saturday, January 26, at 2 p.m., in the Eliot Hall chapel.

Following the memorial, there will be a reception in the Gray lounge in Kaul Auditorium. The event is informal and open to the public.

Prof. Richard Crandall dead at 64

Richard Crandall

The polymath at work. Professor Richard Crandall ’69 [physics 1978–2012] knew how to cut through a tangle of equations to the root of the problem.

The Reed community was stunned today to learn that physicist, mathematician, computer scientist, and inventor Richard E. Crandall ’69 [physics 1978–] died this morning at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital.

The cause was not immediately clear, but Professor Crandall was recently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

It is impossible to catalogue Crandall’s myriad intellectual achievements on such short notice. He was a physics professor of great renown at Reed and beyond, skilled at constructing fundamental experiments on a shoestring budget (one of his favorite tricks involved demonstrating the Doppler shift in visible light using a couple of old stereo speakers).

Reed Prof Finds Fractal Geometry in Mouse Cortex

Fractals, the bizarre geometrical shapes that undergird natural phenomena from snowflakes to lightning bolts, have been discovered in a new and striking location: the synapses of the brain.

In a recent paper, professor Richard Crandall '69 [physics 1978–] and colleagues at the Reed Center for Advanced Computation found intricate fractal patterns in synapses in the somatosensory neocortex of a mouse brain.