Norman Megill (1950-2021)

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Mario Carneiro

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Dec 12, 2021, 11:54:12 PM12/12/21
to Foundations of Mathematics, metamath
Dear All,

I am sorry to report that Norman Dwight Megill, Ph.D. died suddenly of natural causes on December 9, 2021 at the age of 71.

Son of the late Rev. George and June Megill; husband of the late Deborah Nickerson Megill; proud father of Robin Dwight Megill, M.D. of Lancaster, PA; loving stepdad to Caroline Lucia Wright of Lexington, MA; caring brother to Margaret Menezes of Raleigh, NC and David Megill of Alexandria, VA and their families; and loving and devoted partner to Susan Cass of Lexington, MA and her family.

Norman received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 1972 and his Ph.D. from the University of Zagreb, Croatia in 2010.

In addition to being remembered for his strong ties to his family, friends and community, Norman will be known as the author of the Metamath proof language (http://us.metamath.org), a system for expressing and proving mathematical theorems in a simple language that can be checked by a computer. Over 30 years, he cultivated an international community of people with the shared dream of digitizing and verifying mathematics, and the ideas and design have been influential in formal mathematics. He had interest in properties of Quantum logic and Hilbert spaces, and used Metamath to formalize his investigations.

A memorial service will be held at the MIT Chapel (48 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA) on Monday, December 13th at 11:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the MIT Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship Fund, in memory of Norman Megill.  Memorial Gifts Office, 600 Memorial Drive, W98-500, Cambridge, MA 02139.

https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/bostonglobe/name/norman-megill-obituary?id=31842140

Please forward this message to any mailing lists or people who you think would like to know.

Mario Carneiro, on behalf of Susan Cass

David A. Wheeler

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Dec 13, 2021, 12:32:24 AM12/13/21
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> On Dec 12, 2021, at 11:54 PM, Mario Carneiro <di....@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Dear All,
>
> I am sorry to report that Norman Dwight Megill, Ph.D. died suddenly of natural causes on December 9, 2021 at the age of 71.

This is a sudden and sad loss for the world. My condolences to his family.

--- David A. Wheeler

OlivierBinda

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Dec 13, 2021, 1:41:56 AM12/13/21
to meta...@googlegroups.com
:(

His legacy lives on and will keep us entertained for decades...
My life changed and is still changing thanks to him.
He gave me one big purpose for the next 10 years

Rest in peace Norman and many thanks for the help and kindness that you
provided me and for everything else.
You are awesome !

Olivier

Jim Kingdon

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Dec 13, 2021, 1:51:46 AM12/13/21
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Sad news indeed. Norm was a valued collaborator and has been involved in iset.mm in a variety of ways since before I starting doing things with it. His pragmatism, good technical judgement, and encouragement of collaborators did a lot to build the metamath community we know and value.

I'll give us time to process this news and send out tributes before we get too deep into practical issues, except to note that Norm has been thinking about succession for some time and it is certainly my hope and intention that we will continue this community and the ongoing development of metamath, set.mm, and iset.mm.

Jim

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Benoit

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Dec 13, 2021, 6:06:39 AM12/13/21
to Metamath
This is sad news.  My condolences to his family.  I enjoyed the insightful discussions we had over the years.  Metamath is his creation and is a wonderful tool that will live on as his legacy, and that gathered a vibrant community that owes him a lot.

Benoît

heiph...@wilsonb.com

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Dec 13, 2021, 6:23:44 AM12/13/21
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Oh no... This is devastating...

I am but a lurker here, but the quality of discussions, care of contributors,
and sheer fun of playing with metamath are a tribute to the love that Norm
poured into this community.

What a towering legacy.

Though I have only had a few brief e-mail exchanges with him, I remeber these
as treasures. Thank you, Norm, for always thinking about students and learners;
thank you for sparking a lively and invested community; thank you for doing
your thing. It has been and remains a blessing to us all.

Rest well...

vvs

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Dec 13, 2021, 8:08:52 AM12/13/21
to Metamath
How depressing.

We will miss you, Norman.

R.I.P.

igb...@gmail.com

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Dec 13, 2021, 8:24:54 AM12/13/21
to Metamath
I'm grateful to Norm for letting me contribute a couple of small proofs to set.mm. I hope this community will continue his legacy. I'm saddened by this loss.

Paul Chapman

Raph Levien

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Dec 13, 2021, 10:45:35 AM12/13/21
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Very sad news indeed. In addition to all our online interactions, I had the pleasure of meeting with Norm at his home many years ago, and I'm really glad we made that connection. It is up to us now to keep his legacy active, and I hope we do that.

Raph


On Mon, Dec 13, 2021 at 5:24 AM igb...@gmail.com <igb...@gmail.com> wrote:
I'm grateful to Norm for letting me contribute a couple of small proofs to set.mm. I hope this community will continue his legacy. I'm saddened by this loss.

Paul Chapman

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David A. Wheeler

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Dec 13, 2021, 10:58:55 AM12/13/21
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> On Dec 13, 2021, at 10:45 AM, Raph Levien <raph....@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Very sad news indeed. In addition to all our online interactions, I had the pleasure of meeting with Norm at his home many years ago, and I'm really glad we made that connection. It is up to us now to keep his legacy active, and I hope we do that.

Indeed. We will need to work out practical next steps, eventually, but I feel confident that Metamath-related work will continue. A fitting legacy.

--- David A. Wheeler

Patrick Brosnan

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Dec 13, 2021, 11:52:07 AM12/13/21
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Dear Metamath Community,

I'm writing to express my deepest condolences to all of you for the loss of NM.   I think part of the reason metamath is so beautiful is about technical choices Megill made.  But a big part of it is also about the human element: the way it was documented, the way credit is assigned, and, most of all, the way the proof explorer is laid  out on the web because he didn't just want computers to read the proofs --- he also (or maybe even mainly) wanted them to be readable by people. In his writings, he was also extremely modest and honest about what metamath can and cannot do.  And I think that was a breath of fresh air when you compare it to other similar projects.

It is really sad to hear that he's gone.  And I sincerely hope that you and others will continue his legacy.

Best,

--
Patrick Brosnan
Professor of Mathematics
University of Maryland, College Park

Thierry Arnoux

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Dec 13, 2021, 12:06:12 PM12/13/21
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I am very sorry and touched to learn about Norm's sudden passing.

Metamath is a beautiful tool and I will forever be grateful to him for creating, developing and sharing it.
_
Thierry

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Scott Fenton

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Dec 13, 2021, 1:28:18 PM12/13/21
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I've been trying to think of what to say since this morning. Norm was extremely kind and a brilliant man. When I started contributing to Metamath around 2006 he was always there to answer any newbie question I had. I'm extremely grateful to him both for Metamath and for the help he offered a budding mathematician/logician. He will be missed.

-Scott

Glauco

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Dec 13, 2021, 2:43:03 PM12/13/21
to Metamath
I am so sorry for this loss.

What a brilliant mind.

When I was a student, had I known it was possible to have something like Metamath, I would have certainly chosen a different career.

My condolences to the entire family

Glauco

ookami

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Dec 13, 2021, 4:29:40 PM12/13/21
to Metamath
I feel so sorry.  This message is a kind of a shock to me, as his answer to my last contribution was a thorough analysis of my text and a kind offer to help me out with some literature.  I owe him a thorough introduction into the foundations of mathematics. 

I will miss him.

Wolf Lammen

savask

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Dec 13, 2021, 11:33:05 PM12/13/21
to Metamath
A very sad and unexpected loss. Hopefully Norman's legacy will live on and prosper.

Alexander van der Vekens

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Dec 14, 2021, 4:21:26 PM12/14/21
to Metamath
I have just returned from a businss trip, and I was shocked to read about Norm's decease. Only 8 days ago, Norm merged a PR provided by me, and I cannot believe that this was the last joint work. I am so sad and speechless. I think it will take a while until I recognize the full extend of this immense loss. Metamath, Norm's invention, and his tireless dedication to it impressed me from the beginning, and I always felt a kind of spiritual kinship with him. Let's do our best to keep his legacy alive.

Alexander

Giovanni Mascellani

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Dec 16, 2021, 1:36:20 PM12/16/21
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Hi,

On 13/12/21 05:54, Mario Carneiro wrote:
> I am sorry to report that Norman Dwight Megill, Ph.D. died suddenly of
> natural causes on December 9, 2021 at the age of 71.

I am reading this email a few days late, and it's indeed a sad loss. I
am not having much time to enjoy Metamath lately, but I hold it as a
very valuable tool. I learnt a lot from reading the material written by
Norm and others, and I wish I had more time to spend on this lovely project.

As I said in other occasions, I particularly valued the community that
formed around Metamath, thanks to the Norm's work. Norm himself was
always very kind and helpful at beginners' questions.

Life is always so fragile, let's never waste occasions to be kind to
each other and enjoy the good thing we've got.

Thanks a lot Norman for what you did.

Giovanni.
--
Giovanni Mascellani <g.masc...@gmail.com>

Jerry James

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Dec 21, 2021, 5:37:40 PM12/21/21
to Metamath
On Sunday, December 12, 2021 at 9:54:12 PM UTC-7 di....@gmail.com wrote:
I am sorry to report that Norman Dwight Megill, Ph.D. died suddenly of natural causes on December 9, 2021 at the age of 71.

I have not had time for metamath-related activities for a little while, and so did not read this until today.  This is sad news indeed.  I agree with everyone who has spoken about Norm's kindness.  As a relative newcomer here, I have made my share of newcomer faux pas.  Norm would simply tell me the right way to do things.  He was a teacher, and he was a kind-hearted man.  I have been very impressed by the community that Norm formed around metamath.  All of you are kind, encouraging, and willing to educate those that need it.  May that always be the case.
--
Jerry James
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