Walter Gehring (1939–2014)

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Science  18 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6194, pp. 277
DOI: 10.1126/science.1258143

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I arrived in Basel, Switzerland, in 1982 wearing sunglasses and a Hawaiian print shirt and was nervous about my first encounter with Walter Gehring. He was stern and serious and strangely unmoved by the neurotic Jewish humor of a lowly rookie postdoc. As a prank, I used a charcoal-activated straw to drink the tap water. Walter was not amused. This antipathy turned to near rage when he found the butt of my brand of cigarette inside the eyepiece of his coveted Zeiss microscope (I think I was framed). So, it is fair to say that Walter and I were oil and water, but it is nonetheless my privilege to write this memorial on the sad occasion of his untimely death on 29 May following a traffic accident in Greece.