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Princeton theoretical physicist Steven Gubser has died (princeton.edu)
63 points by tlb 68 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments



Same weekend as Ann Nelson, a physicist at the University of Washington. Both died in outdoor accidents; Ann stepped on a loose rock while downclimbing a gulley and that was the ball game.

I am a voracious reader of climbing accident reports and hope his family or climbing partners decide to publish what happened. All I've read is that his "rope snapped" which isn't really something that ever happens; cut yes, snapped no.


Ann was a great lady, I will miss my conversations with her. I knew her as an awesome person to talk climbing with and trade beta, always held her in the highest regard. It wasn't hard to miss she was bright, I had no idea how bright until last week though when I learned about her professional career. Wow, I was in awe reading her accomplishments, I feel lucky someone so brilliant spent energy educating me.

Her incident occurred on a route I did with my brother two weeks before my wedding three years ago. We were thinking if going again this year.

She will be missed by many.


Climbing sounds like an incredibly dangerous sport. I don't understand how so many people are willing to do risky things like that.


Because it takes away all your thoughts, and connects you with instant reality. Plus, it's a fitness activity, it is insanely fun, very social and gives an intense sense of achievment.


That applies to pretty much every sport. Why choose one that puts your life at risk?


You could die at any moment... I know two people that were killed by drink drivers, during the day, through no fault of their own.

Why not enjoy the things that make feel alive, while you are alive? You might not be tomorrow.


There are risks inherent to climbing, but I would not agree that it is incredibly dangerous. In the US, an average of 30 people die annually in climbing accidents. It's difficult to find a denominator to put that number in perspective, but somewhere on the order of a million people climb outdoors each year in the United States and about 5 million participate in indoor climbing. I feel far less safe biking to my climbing gym than I do climbing.


When you balance it against the health benefits in expected Quality-Adjusted Life Years I’m sure it’s net positive.


Last weekend was a terrible weekend for physics. Ann Nelson, an outstanding physicist at UW, also died in a mountaineering accident.

https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.4.2019080...


Thanks for that - Nelson's husband's tribute, starting right after the PT piece, is touching.


True story: he lived in the same dorm room all four years, and only got 2 A s as an undergrad; the rest were A+es, which were incredibly hard to get.

Fantastic lecturer, advisor, climbing instructor, and really brilliant person. Can't believe he's gone.


This is so sad. He was such a lovely and brilliant guy :(


Very sad news. Took one of his graduate courses, he was great.




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