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FROM THE EDITOR

In Memory of Austin Green

Fenella Saunders

Behind the scenes at Sigma Xi is a whole network of talented people who work tirelessly, and largely invisibly, to support the Society and its efforts. One of the most dedicated of those critical workers was Austin Green. His title was Administrative and Meetings Assistant, but he handled a wide variety of tasks, everything from sending out certificates for new initiates and running the mail room, to setting up meeting spaces and operating A/V equipment. No task was too big or too small for him, and he was the definition of a team player.

Click to Enlarge ImageAustin was also a skilled photographer and videographer. His photographs appeared in several issues of American Scientist. He captured the relationship between Mohamed Noor and Ph.D. student Caiti Heil (at right) in their coauthored Ethics column on graduate mentorship, featured in the magazine’s November–December 2012 issue. He beautifully documented a series of delicate knitted structures inspired by mathematics, published in the March–April 2013 issue, and his image of a knitted Klein bottle was featured on the cover (right). Austin also produced several video segments featured on the American Scientist and Sigma Xi websites. He was generous with his time and experience, doing his best to make relative newcomers to multimedia such as myself feel comfortable on camera. You may have seen him at one of Sigma Xi’s conferences, where he volunteered to film sessions and events.

Austin passed away on June 11, 2014, at the age of 30, after a long battle with a rare form of liver cancer called fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma. He was brave throughout the ordeal, always keeping a positive and strong demeanor. Even when he was undergoing treatment, he came to work as often as he could, to maintain his resolve that his life would eventually return to normal. Austin had a big, bright smile and an expansive personality to match. A number of Sigma Xi staff recall how, during the height of his struggles, Austin was far more interested in knowing how others and their families were doing rather than discussing his own illness. Austin and I both had our second children around the same time, and we often commiserated about sleepless nights, although his troubles would seem to eclipse such concerns. His talents and openness have left a permanent impression on all of us at Sigma Xi.

Austin is survived by his wife Ashley, his daughter Abigail, 11, and his son James, 1, as well as a loving extended family. We all honor his legacy, and have a difficult time accepting that we won’t see his smiling face just around the next corner.


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