ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of Sergio Rodriguez, who was born in Chile in 1930 and passed away peacefully at home in Seattle on June 30, 2020, at age 89, surrounded by his loving family.

He immigrated to the US in 1954 to study physics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he met the love of his life, Katinka Floro. He received his PhD in theoretical condensed matter physics in 1958, receiving the award for best dissertation of the year at Berkeley, and took a position as assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

He married Katinka Floro in Seattle in 1959 (who preceded him in death in 2002), and Sonia Lagos in 2003 (who passed away in 2019). He and Katinka had two daughters, Cecilia Aragon (Seattle, WA) and Katrin Rodriguez (Peabody, MA), and two grandchildren who survive him. He is also survived by his two brothers, Patricio and Gonzalo Rodriguez (Santiago, Chile), and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

He joined the faculty of the Physics Department at Purdue University in 1961 and retired as Full Professor in 2000. He received many honors for his work in theoretical physics and published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and several books.

His memorial will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area as soon as it is safe to travel after the pandemic. Dates, locations, and other news will be posted on this site.

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Este sitio web conmemorativo fue creado en memoria de Sergio Rodríguez, quien nació en Chile en 1930 y falleció pacíficamente en su casa en Seattle el 30 de junio de 2020, a los 89 años, rodeado de su amada familia.

Emigró a los Estados Unidos en 1954 para estudiar física en la Universidad de California, Berkeley, donde conoció al amor de su vida, Katinka Floro. Recibió su doctorado en física teórica de la materia condensada en 1958, recibió el premio a la mejor disertación del año en Berkeley, y tomó un puesto como profesor asistente en el Departamento de Física de la Universidad de Washington en Seattle.

Se casó con Katinka Floro en Seattle en 1959 (que lo precedió en la muerte en 2002) y Sonia Lagos en 2003 (que falleció en 2019). Él y Katinka tuvieron dos hijas, Cecilia Aragón (Seattle, Washington, EEUU) y Katrin Rodríguez (Peabody, Massachusetts, EEUU), y dos nietos que le sobreviven. También le sobreviven sus dos hermanos, Patricio y Gonzalo Rodríguez (Santiago, Chile), y muchos primos, sobrinas y sobrinos.

Se unió a la facultad del Departamento de Física de la Universidad de Purdue en 1961 y se retiró como Profesor Titular en 2000. Recibió muchos honores por su trabajo en física teórica y publicó más de 200 artículos revisados por pares y varios libros.

Su memorial se llevará a cabo en el área de la Bahía de San Francisco tan pronto como sea seguro viajar después de la pandemia. Las fechas, ubicaciones y otras noticias se publicarán en este sitio.
Posted by Herman Krieger on April 7, 2021
I knew Sergio as a somewhat shy and friendly student in Berkeley in the early 1950s, when we both resided at the International House at UC Berkeley. We attended two math classes together, one of which Sergio was ejected by the professor from the course because Sergio was too advanced for it.
I once went with Sergio to San Francisco where he has an appointment to meet the President of Chili, who was in the USA on a visit. The President vainly tried to persuade Sergio to return to Chili, as they needed students like him.
I still have the book, A Course of Pure Mathematics", given to me by Sergio.
I remember Sergio with great fondness.
Posted by Paulina Nualart on August 20, 2020
Desde que era muy pequeña , siempre escuché hablar a mi mamá de su primo Checho Rodríguez que vivía en USA.
Decía mi mamá, que era uno de los hombres más sabios e inteligentes de la tierra
Le tenia gran admiración .
Lo conocí en un viaje q hizo a chile junto a su señora y mis primas Cecilia y Katrin. Luego ya en su vejez cuando volvió a vivir en Chile , tuve la gran suerte de estar con él en muchas ocasiones . Un hombre tan cálido, sencillo, y generoso, sentí mucho su partida, ya que tenía la esperanza de poder volverlo a ver en Chile
A mis primas Cecilia y Karin , les mando un fuerte abrazo , que no se olviden de su familia en Chile y que siempre las recibiremos con mucho cariño .
Paulina Nualart González
Sobrina de Sergio
Posted by Dwight Bartholomew on August 19, 2020
Here are a couple of happy memories of Professor Sergio Rodriguez. 
A smiling, dashing man wearing a flat cap lounging in his sports car; a celebrity for a poor grad student!
His lovely, deep Chilean accent. I was forced to listen really hard during his classes which was a significant skill to learn: up until then, I’d only experienced plain Mid-western American accents.
Thank you, Sergio, for brightening my grad school days.
Posted by Claudia Rodriguez on August 7, 2020
Me ha tomado mucho tiempo encontrar las palabras exactas que reflejen lo que quiero expresar en relación a mi querido tío Sergio, sencillamente fue alguien fundamental en mi vida, estuvo presente siempre desde que yo era muy pequeña y me acompañó en todo momento, tuvimos grandes conversaciones, hermosas celebraciones, viajes entretenidos, en fin son muchas las experiencias vividas junto a él, pero por sobre todo me quedo con su sencillez, su inmensa sabiduría y su infinita generosidad, me siento muy agradecida de haber sido parte de su historia y que el enriqueciera mi existencia con sus conocimientos, no sólo intelectuales, también de vinos y comidas, paisajes y por sobre todo que siempre tuviera una fe ciega en mí y que me hiciera saber lo orgulloso que estaba, como él decía, mi sobrina favorita... te extrañaré mucho y lamento no haber estado juntos en tus últimos días.
Posted by Nammee Kim on August 3, 2020
Prof. Rodriguez was a very dedicated man to his family and his disciples and PHYSICS. I will remember him over and over again.

Recently, my mother-in-law has been very sick since June, I did not have enough time to sit and write a tribute for Prof. Rodriguez. However, I keep remembering the memories of Prof. Rodriguez and Mrs. Rodriguez since I have heard a sad news from Giuseppe. As Prof. C. K. Kim mentioned in his tribute, I also did not call Prof. Rodriguez by his first name, either. This is a cultural difference, and it does not mean that we were not close each other.

Everyone knows that they were very kind and caring person. In winter of 1987, I had a doctoral preliminary examination. Prof. Rodriguez and I dropped by the typist office located on the 4th floor of the next building for my thesis. At that time, I was 7-month pregnancy of my first child. I was the only graduate student who was expecting a baby in studying. On the way back, my sneaker string was released. He smile, bent over and tied my shoelaces. Until that baby got married and left home in 2018, my son had used Cecilia’s old bunk bed (bed with a drawer). This bed was borrowed from Professor Rodriguez by Murielle and when my son grew up, he gave it to me. We brought it when we moved to Korea 1996. Of course, we changed a new mattress.

He often encourage me by saying that women should be treated better than men in our society. It was his wish for the society as a father(professor) who had two own daughters and two female students (me and Murielle). His saying was very impressive to me, who grew up in south Korea having strong gender discrimination. Of course, the boy’s preference has eased nowadays in Korea.

There was one sorry memory for a while. After finishing my post doctor at Ohio University, I should return to Purdue because Heesang (my husband) was still working on his Ph.D.. At that time, prof. Rodriguez suggested me to work in the electrical engineering Dept.. It was the result of his hard efforts. But I rejected his considerate offer. If I accepted that position, I wouldn’t have spent a long time getting a full-time professorship in Korea. I thought that he wouldn’t like me because of that. But when he visited Korea, I was very happy to hear that he was still so proud of me.

Please, rest in peace until we will meet in heaven in the future.
Posted by Ken Aragon on July 27, 2020
My grandfather was an incredible man. His greatness didn’t just come from all the discoveries he made, or the awards he won, but also from his uniquely positive attitude towards life, which spread to anyone who was lucky enough to meet him.

In the twenty years I knew him, there was never a time where he was visibly upset with me, even though I had probably deserved it on several occasions. He was patient, loving, and always made everyone around him laugh. I don’t think there was anyone on Earth that my grandpa couldn’t get along with. He was almost too good at making friends. Whenever we made dinner plans, I would have to plan in an extra hour or two to account for him striking up conversations with the restaurant staff, which could last longer than the dinner itself.

I could continue forever detailing how friendly and caring he was, but anyone reading this who knew my grandfather already knows how just talking with him could brighten the darkest day. I have so many fond memories with him that I will always be thankful for. Although I miss him terribly, every thought I have of makes me smile. To make even a fraction of the impact he left on the world would be a tremendous task, but he inspired me to try my hardest. I love you, Grandpa.
Posted by Murielle Hsu on July 24, 2020
It is with great sadness that I recently learned that Sergio had passed away. I look at his picture and the memories come flooding back. I first met Sergio as a young undergraduate in Belgium and soon after became his graduate student at Purdue University. I remember Sergio meeting me at the Purdue airport and patiently taking me around to the bank and various offices in my first few days at Purdue. I remember Sergio guiding me with great kindness, humor, and infinite patience through my PhD work. I remember Sergio inviting me and his other graduate students to dinner at his house. Sergio and Katinka opened their heart and home to me and treated me as a member of their family. For the next twenty years, they greeted me with open arms whenever and wherever we were close enough to meet - at Purdue, in Italy, at their house in California.

Sergio was one of the most erudite people I have ever met in my life. He was a brilliant physicist and teacher but he was also so much more to me. Every week he would come to my office with a new stack of books that he thought essential to my education: literature, from Jane Austen to James Bond, history, anthropology, architecture. He opened up my mind and my world and he did it with kindness, humor and a constant warm smile. Meeting Sergio and Katinka completely changed the path of my life and I will forever be grateful to them for their love.

I offer my heartfelt condolences to Cecilia and Katrin, and Sergio’s extended family.

“When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”

― William Shakespeare
Posted by Sudha Gopalan on July 22, 2020
I was a PhD student of Prof. Sergio Rodriguez at Purdue University from 1982-1985. After my undergraduate studies in India I joined Purdue University in 1980 as a graduate student. I had to first take courses and I attended the Quantum Mechanics course given by Prof. Sergio Rodriguez. I was so impressed with the course that I decided then that I wanted to work on my PhD with Prof. Sergio Rodriguez and was very happy when he accepted me.

Prof. Sergio Rodriguez was a good thesis advisor and was always very caring. He would, whenever possible, invite his students to his house and his wife Katinka gave us all a very warm welcome with good food and there were lots of discussions afterwards. I still remember the nice times I had at his home.

After graduating in 1985, Prof. Sergio Rodriguez helped me to get a position in Germany. We kept in touch a few years after that and Prof. Rodriguez was always caring and helpful.

Although Prof. Sergio Rodriguez is no longer here, good memories of him will stay on with me. My heartfelt condolences go to his family.
Posted by 철구 김 on July 18, 2020
I still remember the day I first visited Professor Rodriguez’s office to ask him whether I could be allowed as his student. He greeted me with a warm smile and, thus started my happy association with him at Purdue. My life as a Ph.D. student (1973-1976) under him was truly rewarding and fruitful. He not only conveyed me the passion for physics, but also showed me the meaning of optimism and tolerance, which became the backbone of my professional career as a physicist.

Although I left Purdue in 1976 and eventually settled at Yonsei University in Seoul, my association with Sergio was renewed years later by Nammee, who was one of my best undergraduate students at Yonsei, joining him and getting Ph.D. My most pleasant memory with Sergio and Katinka comes from the time in 1997 when they visited Seoul on my invitation. They were greeted by me and Nammee and also met several former Purdue Physics students of Professors Ramdas, Collela, and Muzika. I vividly remember my mother-in-law’s birthday party of which Sergio and Katinka were special surprise guests. Sergio gave lectures at several universities and at the same time he with Katinka visited the best parts of Korea, such as Jeju Island and Kyungju, the old capital city. My last memory with them was the 2000 Purdue Symposium for Professors Rodriguez and Ramdas, where I attended as a speaker. At that time Katinka was well and healthy. My wife and I could not believe the news that Katinka passed away in 2002.

Now I like to add one small secret of my own. Although I was the only student at the time thus making me very close to him, I have never achieved to call him by name, Sergio, as other graduate students casually did. For me, coming from Korea, where teachers were treated with same respect as parents (parents are never called by names by sons and daughters in Korea), Sergio was always Professor Rodriguez and Katinka was always Mrs. Rodriguez in speaking until to the last. Now I say my farewell to Sergio a true teacher, mentor and, if I can say, Friend.

Posted by Giuseppe La Rocca on July 14, 2020

I first met Sergio while he was visiting professor Franco Bassani in Pisa and then I have been a student of his at Purdue from 1986 to 1989. Sergio dedicated me an enormous amount of his time and what I learned from him has helped me throughout my professional career. He has been to me much more than a scientific mentor: during those years Sergio and Katinka really made me feel at home and cared for me like a son. I have vivid recollections of the many occasions on which they invited me over, often with other international students of his. When my parents came to Purdue, Sergio and Katinka made friends with them and later on they as well as Katrin visited my family in Italy.

Throughout my early career, Sergio has encouraged me and supported me, being always very attentive and ready to provide his help in a very kind and unobtrusive way. Thanks to his good temper, just meeting him would have made my day better. We have been in touch for many years, meeting both at Purdue and in Pisa (for the last time in 2004, I believe, when he was visiting Europe with Sonia). I deeply regret that I no longer contacted him in these last years.

I will always remember Sergio, not only because of admiration for the passionate teacher and the brilliant scientist, but because he was a friend to me and he made a difference to me in a crucial period in my life.

My family and I are close to all members of Sergio’s family for their loss.
Posted by Cecilia Aragon on July 9, 2020
My wonderful, loving, brilliant dad passed away on June 30th. He went peacefully in his sleep, at home, surrounded by family, covid-free. He was 89. We all miss him terribly. These past few months his health had been declining, and his Alzheimer's getting worse. He had atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure, and then he had a stroke that left his right side paralyzed and him unable to speak. But still, whenever I entered his bedroom he would make eye contact and smile at me. He was peaceful and comfortable at the end, surrounded by the people he loved. My children took turns sleeping in his room and waking up every two hours to turn him from side to side to prevent bedsores. I could not have cared for him without their incredible and loving help.

I miss him so much, but am comforted by the knowledge that he was happy with the fullness of his life and accomplishments, and as he told me several weeks ago, ready to move on. He was very glad to be with us, and we all had many joyous as well as bittersweet interactions. I feel blessed that we had as much time together as we did. He was one of those rare people who was both brilliant and had a truly kind heart. His many contributions to theoretical physics live on after his death, and his loving and generous personality shone through even during his illness. He was still making friends, and even strangers remarked on what a pleasure it was to be near him, how kind and thoughtful, upbeat and funny he was at all times.

He left the world better than he found it. I only hope that I can do half as well. I love you, Daddy.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Herman Krieger on April 7, 2021
I knew Sergio as a somewhat shy and friendly student in Berkeley in the early 1950s, when we both resided at the International House at UC Berkeley. We attended two math classes together, one of which Sergio was ejected by the professor from the course because Sergio was too advanced for it.
I once went with Sergio to San Francisco where he has an appointment to meet the President of Chili, who was in the USA on a visit. The President vainly tried to persuade Sergio to return to Chili, as they needed students like him.
I still have the book, A Course of Pure Mathematics", given to me by Sergio.
I remember Sergio with great fondness.
Posted by Paulina Nualart on August 20, 2020
Desde que era muy pequeña , siempre escuché hablar a mi mamá de su primo Checho Rodríguez que vivía en USA.
Decía mi mamá, que era uno de los hombres más sabios e inteligentes de la tierra
Le tenia gran admiración .
Lo conocí en un viaje q hizo a chile junto a su señora y mis primas Cecilia y Katrin. Luego ya en su vejez cuando volvió a vivir en Chile , tuve la gran suerte de estar con él en muchas ocasiones . Un hombre tan cálido, sencillo, y generoso, sentí mucho su partida, ya que tenía la esperanza de poder volverlo a ver en Chile
A mis primas Cecilia y Karin , les mando un fuerte abrazo , que no se olviden de su familia en Chile y que siempre las recibiremos con mucho cariño .
Paulina Nualart González
Sobrina de Sergio
Posted by Dwight Bartholomew on August 19, 2020
Here are a couple of happy memories of Professor Sergio Rodriguez. 
A smiling, dashing man wearing a flat cap lounging in his sports car; a celebrity for a poor grad student!
His lovely, deep Chilean accent. I was forced to listen really hard during his classes which was a significant skill to learn: up until then, I’d only experienced plain Mid-western American accents.
Thank you, Sergio, for brightening my grad school days.
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Recuerdos

Shared by Ximena Nualart on August 12, 2020
Era alrededor  de 1960 cuando Checho vino de vacaciones a Chile Como yo estaba viviendo en su casa aqui en Santiago Nos invito a Patricio su hermano a visitar el Cerro Santa Lucia Para mi fue la primera vez que lo subia Para el no era la primera vez pero sin embargo estaba muy entusiasmado por estar ahi   El Domingo de esa misma semana fuimos al Club Hipico Para mi era de nuevo una experiencia unica porque ademas tuve la oportunidad de  apostar al caballo  que era favorito Nuestra amistad se mantuvo siempre Por eso cuando volvio a vivir a Chile nos unimos mas