How did you know Octave? Was Dr. Levenspiel your Chemical Engineering professor? Did you play Chinese chess with him? Were you ever fooled by his “I’m the eighth son” story? Some of you probably want to know if ANY of his stories were true. A short biography was written about Tavy, if you really want to know how unique his life was. Visit Lulu.com.
We’d love to know how Octave touched your life.
From B grade reaction engineering student
In addition to his many contributions to Chemical Reaction Engineering, his engaging style, his generosity, and his vast knowledge and ability to simplify complex subjects in simple terms will make him forever one of the great teachers that I've known of. I never really learned under him but always at conferences saw him surrounded by students. That generosity of spirit and desire to teach (no high-brow "I'm the famous professor; you are a student" attitude for him!) separated him from many other great teachers and professors in the universities of America. He was truly a great man and it is a tribute to him that this morning, trying to remember some basic chemical engineering concept, I've reached out to his Chemical Reaction Engineering book (which I bought in India in 1989-90).
This is what Martin wrote nearly 5 years ago, after the Olympic Games in London:
"The 2012 Olympic Games finished last night in Stratford. The last time the Olympics came to London was in 1948--from 28th July to 14th August. The last time they came to London my American cousin came to see them and stayed with us in Amersham, UK. I think he got tickets for my Dad and brothers, but I was five on July 31st 1948, and was too little to go to the games. But Tavy, who was always up to something, wasn’t going to let that prevent me from taking part.
Our house at the time, backed on to a playing field --the King George V Recreation Ground. You could easily get over the low fence to play in the “Rec”. Tavy said I had to enter a race, but although I was the only entrant, I was not allowed a walk over the fence. Today there is much talk of non-competitive sport; Tavy’s thinking was clearly well ahead of its time. The race: I had to climb over the fence, run right across the Rec and back home again over the fence. I was then told to stand on an “orange box” by the back door. (An orange box was a wooden crate in which oranges were imported and they were often used as kindling for coal fires). Once atop the box, I was formally presented with a small Olympic pennant. I don’t think they played the National Anthem. I flew my ‘Lympic pennant proudly from the end of my bed for some time, but I don’t know what happened to it in the end. But I do remember it well and I’ve always had a picture in my mind of its 5 rings whenever the Limpi-ics are mentioned.
This year, 2012, as the games of the 30th Olympiad are in London, the British Library (where Beryl used to work and now volunteers) has a commemorative exhibition of past Olympic Games. The exhibits mostly come from the Olympic committee itself, and there are lots of stamps and things like that from all over the world at all the different games.
In 1948 Britain had rationing and was still in economic difficulties after the war, and as I have already said this was the time of coal fires, and orange boxes.
There wasn’t much merchandising of the 1948 “Austerity Games”, but in the exhibition there was a small showcase of non-stamp memorabilia. And amongst the old tickets and programmes was my little felt triangular pennant.
From the 2012 Games, I have an Olympic t-shirt. It was awarded to me, by my wife and daughter, for achieving the 69th anniversary of my birth (and the 64th anniversary of my historic marathon run). There are many different designs of t-shirt available, but I chose the one that has the five rings most prominently. This year on Saturday 11th August from 11am – 7pm the King George V Playing Field, King George V Road (there wasn’t such a road in ’48) was the venue for a “Big Screen event” showing live action from the Olympic Games, combined with a local festival offering ‘taster sports’ for everyone to try - and a great programme of entertainment with bands, dancers, street artists and film-makers helping to celebrate the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’!"
If only they knew. Martin.
We were both busy writing books, although I was a lot slower than Tavy. I would take a break from my computer for our dog walks, and I didn't understand how he did it: completing two books while I struggled with only one. Role model? You bet.
manner of person and also, he had unique sense of humor, scholastic intelligences. No wonder he drew attentions among students, teachers, scientists, even many people.
I still remember one of his questions he asked me about “dinosaurs”. Dinosaurs were so big they must have appropriate heartbeat in order to make blood flow all over their body. Here is one of hypothesis, he says, "At the age of Dinosaurs, Earth atmospheric pressure must have had higher barometers than ours otherwise blood flow is sluggish?!" This kind of questions brought me Scientific curiosities!
He was a real educator, Scientist, human being. I am enriched in my life knowing him. He brought people closer together crossing barriers of race, cultures, languages through his works.
I am going to miss this great man. Thank you Tavy. Shalom
Their many scienfic contributions will live for ever.
Tavy was a young man when he had come to England for the 1948 Olympic Games. You may imagine my excitement when he took me to Wembley Stadium to see GB play India in the men’s final. Imagine my embarrassment when he persisted in shouting ‘farmer’ whenever one of our players missed the ball and dislodged a divot of turf, a rather frequent occurrence as the Indians were by far the better side.
For a young boy like me, Tavy had an almost magical presence reinforced when one morning, having failed to return home on the previous day before the house had been locked for the night, Tavy emerged from our sitting room. It transpired that he had climbed in through the kitchen window, a feat which greatly impressed us all because the window was small and, as we thought, too high to reach without a ladder.
In later years, from letters between our fathers, we learned a little of Tavy’s academic progress and then sometime in the late 1960s I think (I do not remember exactly when) he came to Cambridge (the original one) on sabbatical with MaryJo, Barney, Becky and Morris. It was then that we got to know our American cousin and his happy- go-lucky personality. In 1982 I went with my family to Otter Rock for a most exciting holiday. As well as providing wonderful hospitality, Tavy and MaryJo lent us their camper van and equipment and we toured the West Coast down to LA and back; a never to be forgotten experience.
The Levenspiels were never a family for staying at home and through MaryJo’s genealogical endeavours we came to learn how the clan had spread across the globe. Together with my brothers, Jeffery and Martin, and our wives we attended Tavy and MaryJo’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. It was a joyful occasion at which we met for the first time some members of the wider family. It was also to be the last time that I saw our American cousins. It is much to my regret that time and distance kept us apart.
I can still hear his voice calling, "Lollie, Lollie..." for their dog to come in.
I remember singing "Wu-tzu Pu-tzu" at Christmas-time in their living room. "Lift a glass to friendship!"
I remember Tavy and my dad racing to open their Christmas presents at the same time, seeing that they both got the same Russian hat, and immediately putting them on, donning stern expressions and laughing.
And I remember his smile.
I was too young to know anything about his fascinating life.
But his humor, wit and charm remain in my memory and always will.
I remember the children well and have such fond memories of the cheeky Morris and the kindnesss and warmth of Mary Jo and Tavy. Tavy was always smiling and full of fun! My parents kept in touch with them for years and visited them in Oregon. They came to my sister's wedding and we saw them when they were visiting England.
Rest in Peace Tavy. A life well lived.
And his favorite foods were simple vegetables and tofu, with a little of meat.
I'll miss him and remember fondly of the time I worked for him.
My son read Tavy's article on Quetzalcoatlus and tried to manipulate conditions so that his created pteradon (named Bruce) could actually lift off. It won him second place at the science fair!
Working with Tavy was truly one of the highlights of my life! He was such a joyful and curious person, with a wicked sense of humor. And, oh, his stories! My thoughts go out to Mary Jo and the family.
Sending all my love to Mary Jo, Bekki, Morris, and the boys.
Holly Short (Smith)