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* Marta and Bernhard
@ 2022-11-04 15:37 ptj
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From: ptj @ 2022-11-04 15:37 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Categories mailing list

We have lost two giants of the category theory community in the space of a
couple of weeks. I can't fully record all the things I have gained from
knowing Marta Bunge and Bernhard Banaschewski, but I feel I have to try.

I first met Marta at the very first international conference I attended:
Aarhus, in May 1973. I was at that stage still a PhD student, and very
nervous in the presence of `giants' such as Mac Lane and Lawvere, but
Marta was always open and welcoming to a `new kid on the block'. It was
in no small part thanks to her (and others') help that I emerged from that
meeting convinced that I had a future in category theory.

Over the years Marta and I had many interactions: we didn't always agree,
but we always `agreed to disagree'. And when I was struck down with
Covid-19 in 2020, the messages she sent me were definitely the most heart-
warming of all those I received from my fellow-category-theorists
(which is saying a lot!).

I can't remember when I first met Bernhard, but over the years I learned
an immense amount from him -- not least the importance of never being
satisfied with a sub-optimal proof, but always looking for the *right*
one (as I said in the dedication of my paper in his 80th birthday
Festschrift). I also greatly enjoyed his sense of humour, which chimed
almost perfectly with my own. (Just one sample: on one occasion when I
was visiting McMaster, and we had been discussing matters to do with
prime and maximal ideals 9n his office, we went out to lunch with
Evelyn Nelson. Evelyn ordered prime ribs of beef, and when they brought
her a massive slab of meat, I observed `That's not just a prime rib;
it's a maximal rib!'. Bernhard was convulsed with laughter.)

Peter Johnstone




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