May 26, 2020 by Lucian Mogosanu

I've rarely (if ever) done this in my fifteen years of blogging and I don't intend to make a habit out of it, but there's a feeling there that's surfaced and isn't going anywhere, a feeling that it's my duty to pay my last respects. And while I still have a blog up and running, in writing I shall do it.

Yesterday I found out that Octavian Stănășilă passed away. Perhaps the name doesn't mean anything to most people, save for a few generations of UPB students who have had the luck to meet the man. It's not a name you hear on TV, that's for sure, as it's not one to be celebrated anywhere outside a very few circles of mathematicians. Still, the name means something to me, and that's gotta count for something -- at least to me it does, and I'm my very own number one fan.

Stănășilă has left his impression on me the way very few people do: not through the few discussions we've had and not through some awesome example of great deeds that have "changed the world", whatever that means. No, he changed me through his writing firstly and foremostly. And of all the things he could put on paper, he set out to write collections of math problems for young students who set out to explore the field for whatever reason, e.g. "engineering". And boy, have those seemingly insignificant math problems helped me to this day... I won't really mention how, except that they did on their own merit, just because I studied them, because some things have this power any day of any year, even as the world won't stop decaying. So I have my thanks to give to the one who conceived them, for I wouldn't have been who I am in their absence.

And I'd stop here, except I can't help but notice that my dear Prof. has done way more than this. In an environment that's all but dead now, he led a small team of titans throughout his life in UPB, and he's created a tradition alongside people such as Olteanu, Flondor, Ursianu, Gologan and hell, even the youngers ones such as Costache and Popescu-PGP are breaking the norm, and in no small part due to Octavian Stănășilă.

All these said, I have only one sadness; namely that for some unexplainable reason, that unique air he had, his laughter and the good words, all those seem to have gone along with him.

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4 Responses to “Obituary”

  1. #1:
    Diana Coman says:

    As a student at UPB, Stanasila's course was indeed the one Maths course that was truly my pleasure to attend, as it packed, even in its rather short time, a lot more than just the topic at hand - his jokes and laughter literally helping one along and across the less obvious parts (and quite on purpose, too, it wasn't just some happy accident). And in a curriculum that otherwise lacked glaringly any sort of proper study of statistics, it's still Stanasila's course that gave me some valuable pointers on it.

  2. #2:
    spyked says:

    Since we're doing the "small team of titans" thing, let us take a moment to mention a person in that department who also has an online presence, namely Alex Negrescu. Quoth his about page:

    Acest site este destinat studenților mei din anul I de la Universitatea Politehnica din București.

    Though looking at his latest material, it seems that it's targeted rather at twelfth grade students who are aspiring to join UPB, which is also precisely what Stănășilă was targeting with his exercise books. I looked at one of his videos and his approach is mostly hands-on, not getting too much in the theoretical details. But the great thing is that he posts his stuff regularly, if not too often, which is way more than I can say about the life of most blogs that I've seen during my time on the interwebs.

    And he also shares Celibidache, which is just awesome.

  3. #3:
    spyked says:

    And in other growing lists, another one bites the dust: rest in peace, Valeriu Iorga.

  4. #4:
    spyked says:

    The philosopher shall be missed.

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