It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dr. Lou Siminovitch.
The following is a message from Siminovitch Prize Laureate John Mighton on what spending time with Lou meant to him.
A great deal has been written about Dr. Lou Siminovitch’s world-changing scientific achievements. I won’t try to add to the discussions about his intellectual work, but I’ll share an observation about an aspect of his character and spirit that became apparent to me in our conversations and in conversations with people who have benefited from the Siminovitch Prize.
Given the scale of his accomplishments, Lou may well have been the most humble person I’ve ever met. And he also had one of the most engaged and curious minds I’ve ever encountered. At Siminovitch Prize celebrations, Lou never spoke about himself or his remarkable accomplishments. He cared more about getting to know the people at the events, and his conversations were animated by a genuine curiosity about how artists work and think and make discoveries.
I believe these two sides of his personality – his deep humility and his intense sense of curiosity – were connected and help explain how a single individual could change so many lives and so many fields of thought for the better.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once wrote “It’s a universal law of education– intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with an arrogant impatience, whereas a truly profound education breeds humility.” I expect that Lou’s natural humility was constantly enhanced by the profound breadth and depth of his experience. And his humility gave him an openness to failure and self-doubt that a person must embrace to gain that experience and to become a great scientist.
Lou and Elinore Siminovitch were both passionate innovators in the arts and sciences and they shared a similar breadth of interests. The award they inspired has given many artists the means and impetus they needed to follow their own curiosity, and to become better artists by constantly learning and taking risks.
In a time when ignorance often holds more sway than science, and when people are driven to act with arrogant impatience, Lou’s character and spirit should give us hope. We have lost someone who exemplifies the kind of thinker and citizen we need now more than ever. But from the outpouring of grief and appreciation that has come with the news of his death, it’s clear that Lou will continue to teach and inspire us even in his passing, and that his example will help us find a way forward.
– John Mighton, 2005 Siminovitch Prize Laureate
You are welcome to add your thoughts and memories in the comments below. These will be shared with the Siminovitch family.
Please also consider joining us for the next Siminovitch Forum honouring Lou and Elinore and the award they inspired.
Key to Creativity: The Intersection Between Art and Science
April 29, 2021 at 7:00 pm ET