I'm sorry I couldn't be there in person to help you celebrate your outstanding career as a physicist, as well as a fitness buff, runner, hiker and climber. Your work on the physics of the Higgs boson is legendary, and has been an outstanding guidepost to the experimentalists as they searched for this particle over the last few decades, and finally discovered it two years ago. Your work will continue to guide them as they work to narrow down its properties, and search for any Higgs cousins that might exist.
What I really regret about missing your Fest is not being able to go out for a run with you right after tonight's dinner. But seriously, I remember you asking me several times if I wanted to go running, on your various visits to SLAC when you were working with Howie. Although I used to be in decent shape, your legend preceded you, and I always found an excuse to say no to your invitations (so as not to embarrass myself).
On the other hand, when we were both at Aspen one summer, and you asked me if I wanted to go climb South Maroon Peak, the 14000-foot Maroon Bell on the left, looking up from Aspen, how could I say no? After all, I fancied myself a decent climber, and as we always say during faculty searches, I received my PhD quite a bit after you did yours.
We were joined by Hans Kuhn - who had trekked in the Himalayas - and Greg Anderson, and probably one or two others in the audience who I'm forgetting (sorry). But you led the way up, of course, especially kicking steps up the long steep snow chute. That chute topped out, almost, just a little below the summit. I say “almost” because there was a bit of a snow bridge to get off of the snow chute, which I think you led us across as well.
We made the summit, no problem. It would have been so tempting to retrace our route, re-crossing the snow bridge and sliding down the long chute, which pointed almost directly to the cars. But you realized that the snowbridge was really softening up in the sun, and why risk crossing it, when we could enjoy a much longer, circuitous descent over miles of irritatingly loose stones? Seriously, your judgment in climbing, as well as in physics, was impeccable then as now: We all arrived safely back at the cars, although for some of us it was several hours later and with protesting ankles.
Thanks Jack for being such an excellent physicist, colleague, and friend! And Best Birthday Wishes!
Dear Jack and all participants of Gunion Fest,
I was looking forward to attending the Fest in early April but the change of dates forced me to change my plans. I was also hoping to visit my last Alma Mater (UC Davis) which has undergone so many changes and so much growth since 1987 when Jack let me get my PhD. I mean it: ``let me get my PhD’’. Even though I submitted the thesis and successfully defended it, he told me at that time that there was one more thing that he wanted me to do in order to become a real PhD: he wanted me to run with him!!! NOOOOO, thanks!
So, if you wish: I haven’t fully graduated from UC Davis! Nor am I ever likely to, since Jack doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down, neither physically nor scientifically. In fact, when I was still a student there, my fellow students and I suspected that Jack’s lifestyle constituted a violation of the conservation of energy. During the whole day he didn’t eat anything, skipped lunch and instead went running in 100+ degree heat and then worked until 9pm. Oh well, strange things can happen in UC Davis, even stranger than the fact that I graduated from there (though not fully…), and even remained in research.
Overall, despite failing the running test, I have very fond memories from my graduate days at Davis. I learned a lot from Jack and that has always helped me in my career. One thing that I remember him telling me was that there should be one topic that I should become a real expert on - so that everyone would know that he or she could always ask me a question if they wanted to. I took it deeply to my heart, although to this day I am still trying to figure out what that topic should be in my case!
I hope you are having a good time at the Fest! Best wishes to Jack to carry on with your impressive energy for many years to come. I am still hoping to catch up with you one day, but probably not until we both can’t run faster than one mile per hour!
All the best and greetings from Warsaw, Poland,
I was happy to hear there would be a Gunion Fest to celebrate Jack’s career (so far, with, I presume, much more to come). I’m sorry I can’t be present to praise Jack and his accomplishments. Collaborating with him was always a challenge given his technical prowess and speed. He also has shown very good taste – that is, we basically agree on how nature works. If the real world had functioned more wisely facilities such as the SSC or LHC or ILC would have existed earlier and performed at higher energies and luminosities, and with his powerful abilities and motivation Jack would have been even more successful analyzing and interpreting discoveries of physics beyond the Standard Model. I look forward to his papers interpreting superpartner discoveries next year.
With admiration and warm regards, Gordy
Dear Jack, Friends and Colleagues,
First of all let me apologize that I am not able to celebrate this event with you in person. Nevertheless, spiritually, I am certainly with you recalling all those years since 1989 when I had met Jack on alpine slopes in La Thuile. That was during one on the first Les Rencontres de Physique de la Vallée d'Aoste. I quickly noticed Jack while we were skiing with a group of physicists; he was the one choosing the deepest snow and steepest slopes. Afterwards, I was in Davis as a postdoc in 1991 and 1992. Since then we have published more than 30 papers together. Our collaboration has mainly focused on Higgs physics and on the possibility of CP-violation in the scalar sector. My favorite paper is the one on Higgs boson production in polarized laser beams at 𝑒+𝑒− collider.
We all know very well that Jack’s contribution to high-energy physics is outstanding: 30 000 citations and nearly 500 papers. No further comments are really required. However concerning Higgs physics, I am absolutely convinced that Jack is one of the fundamental pillars of that branch of theoretical physics. I would like to say that I always enjoyed discussing physics with Jack - we were not only able to communicate quickly, but it turned out that we shared a similar approach to physics. The same aspects of research were fun to us and it is still a great pleasure to work with you Jack.
Jack is known worldwide for his unique style of “detailed attack” he analyzes and solves problems to the very bottom discussing always all possible options. In fact that is what often proves to be very useful. I am sure that all of us who have worked with him have had the chance to experience Jack’s intensity and thoroughness.
A few times I tried some athletic activities with Jack. I must confess that was indeed a challenge. Collaborating with Jack was a piece of cake compared to running, cross- country or downhill skiing. For those of you who are curious of those aspects of Jack’s personality I recommend cross-country skiing in the Sierras – in my case it was not an issue of competing with him but rather of surviving in one single piece. Even though that was perhaps more than 20 years ago, I do remember that experience very well and I guess it will stay that way.
Summarizing, I would like to say that I was very lucky to meet you Jack and I feel honored to have a chance to work with you – thank you!
I wish you many decades of intensive and successful research.