I’m very sorry to announce that Bill Lorensen has died. As many of you know, Bill was one of the founding authors of the VTK textbook and software. He had remained very active in VTK development even after retiring from GE Research over a decade ago, recently revamping the VTK examples and taking a leading role in converting the VTK textbook into open MarkUp and LaTeX versions. To learn more about Bill, see his webpage http://marchingcubes.org.
There is so much to say about Bill. Certainly his technical chops were outstanding: for example the creation (with Harvey Cline) of Marching Cubes remains the most widely cited visualization algorithm ever. But mostly those that knew Bill were always touched by his wit, his sparkle, and his ability to make anyone around him feel better. Bill had the amazing ability to bring people together, even in the most challenging technical discussions, through to positive outcomes. And then at the end of it, share a beer (or two or three) with fun and laughter. He also had time for everyone, from the movers and shakers in academia and funding agencies, to students and postdocs just embarking on their careers. He loved people, and he loved working with people on challenging technical problems, and it showed in the number of his friends and enthusiastic co-workers. Bill’s combination of technical ability and emotional intelligence was a rare gift. In the VTK and other communities we were all very fortunate to have received it.
We will miss him. Yet his legacy of technical excellence and supportive, collaborative working cultures will live on in systems like VTK, ITK, and Slicer. I expect over the coming years to periodically hoist a beer to his memory and in gratitude for what he taught me. I hope that you will join me in toasting his memory, and together do our best to emulate his many inspirational qualities.