[Coral-List] Bob Ginsburg's passing

Derek Manzello derek.manzello at noaa.gov
Thu Jul 13 09:41:49 EDT 2017

Bob Ginsburg personified coral reef science at RSMAS and his influence 
is ingrained within every student that thought about reefs during his 
tenure and beyond.  To me, Bob's legacy is that he showed that if you 
want to truly understand coral reef ecology, you need to be an expert in 
biology, geology, chemistry, and physics.  If you only thought in one 
discipline, you'll never understand reefs.

My fondest memory of Bob comes from my time as a graduate student at 
RSMAS.  I was using the tile saw outside of the Marine Geology and 
Geophysics department to cut some coral samples.  Bob arrived, looked at 
me, and asked what I was doing.  I was beyond intimidated, for this was 
"The Bob Ginsburg" and I nervously replied that I was looking at growth 
rates in corals that I had stained.  I was worried that he would 
question why a student he didn't know from the biology department was 
meddling with geology's equipment.  He paused, then replied "No blood on 
the blade.  No blood on the blade."  Then he walked away.

He was unassuming and treated students the same as colleagues.  This is 
a rare trait in ego-driven reef science where students are often thought 
of as a currency to a professor's career advancement.

He will be missed, but his impact on reef science will never fade.


On 7/10/2017 1:10 PM, William Precht wrote:
> Very nice Gene. You were the one influenced most by this gentlemen scholar.
> Sympathies go out to all his friends and colleagues.  He will be missed and never forgotten.
> Bill
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Jul 10, 2017, at 12:13 PM, Eugene Shinn <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu> wrote:
>>     With great sadness I regret to report that Robert N. Ginsburg, (Most
>> of you know as Bob) passed away July 9, 2017. Bob was 91 and had been in
>> assisted living for the past few years. Few individuals have influenced
>> the course of carbonate geology and coral reef studies more over the
>> past 60 years than Robert Nathan Ginsburg. Had he not set the course,
>> comparative sedimentology as we now know it might never have flourished.
>> More important, though, was Bob’s rare ability to influence those around
>> him to think, to ask the “So what?” or “What does it mean?” questions
>> that we so often forget to ask. Bob can be likened to a Renaissance man,
>> a visiting scholar from the past centuries. His approach to science was
>> both philosophical and pragmatic, a natural historian’s attitude that at
>> first seems out of step with today’s high-tech computer model-driven
>> science. We will all miss him. Gene
>> -- 
>> No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
>> ------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
>> E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
>> University of South Florida
>> College of Marine Science Room 221A
>> 140 Seventh Avenue South
>> St. Petersburg, FL 33701
>> <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
>> Tel 727 553-1158
>> ---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
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