July 17, 2022
July 17, 2022
My homage to my dear friend Sergio Rodríguez comes at a very late time. Today I learned his death occurred two years ago in June 2020 in Seattle. During these pandemic years I tried to get in touch with him several times, unsuccessfully calling the telephone numbers he had in Chile. I was unaware that by then he had returned to the United States, as I was unaware of his passing shortly thereafter. For this reason, I am adding these words to this memorial website set up by his daughter Cecilia Aragon at such a late date.

Sergio and I were students at the School of Engineering of the University of Chile during the beginning of the fifties. He was one year ahead of me and was known by his classmates as the “mateo” Rodriguez, a nickname given to the most dedicated and brilliant students. Some years later we met again at the University of California in Berkeley where I went with my wife and two baby daughters to study Geology. Sergio graduated as a PhD in Physics in those days. He helped us generously to settle in Berkeley and solve many personal and domestic problems related to our life in that new social environment. My scholarship was not sufficient for a family of four and Sergio came to our aid several times lending us money.

At that time Sergio was in love with a girl from the Philippines named Katinka who became his wife. We shared a nice friendship, visiting places close to Berkeley and frequently meeting in our home. I always remember Sergio arriving late in the afternoon accompanied by another Chilean student to invite me to play minigolf at a place on Telegraph Avenue and afterwards coming back to our place for dinner and long chats.
Sergio decided to settle in the United States and became an outstanding and brilliant university professor, an internationally renowned solid-state physicist. My academic life continued in Chile at the Geology Department at the University of Chile and later at universities in England and France. 
Many years after our Californian times, when Sergio decided to return to Chile after Katinka died, we renewed our old friendship resuming our long and pleasant conversations about science, books, politics, wines and the remembrance of mutual friends. Then he moved to the south of Chile and, unfortunately, we lost touch. I never knew that he had returned to the United States.
Dear “Mateo”, you will stay live on in my memory as a beloved friend with a warm and wise smile whose heartfelt generosity and brilliant intellect will not be forgotten.
April 7, 2021
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.
August 20, 2020
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
August 19, 2020
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.
August 7, 2020
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.
August 3, 2020
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.
July 27, 2020
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.
July 24, 2020
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
July 22, 2020
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.
July 18, 2020
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.

July 14, 2020
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.
July 9, 2020
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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