Bill Lorensen

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

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.


Let’s all toast to his memory with a beer or two … and … remember his favourite slogan: “Old guys rule!”


Rest In Peace, We are going to miss him :frowning:

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@will.schroeder, thanks for the very fitting tribute to Bill. It was my distinct pleasure to work with Bill for nearly a decade at GE Research. In many ways he shaped my future career and his influence will be felt for many more years to come.

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Thanks for posting this great tribute. I’m very sorry to hear about Bill’s passing.

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Bill was an amazing mentor with a contagious passion for good software. It was because of Bill’s encouragement that I became a community programmer, rather than just working on my own stuff.

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May Bill rest in Peace.

My sincere condolences to his family.

Philippe P

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Thank you Will. This is sad to hear. Rest in peace, Bill. Thank you for all the knowledge you shared during my PhD, for keeping in touch in the past 20 years, and for what you brought to this community.


Rest in peace Bill. I can’t thank him enough for the work he did and the community he helped form. Never got to meet him but from your description would have loved to. Cheers to Bill!

Rest In Peace :frowning:

FYI- Bill’s obituary

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:disappointed::sob: RIP Bill! He recently worked on my project. It makes me very sad. All the best to his family.