ICE Issue 9

39 The Israel Chemist and Chemical Engineer Issue 9 · January 2023 · Tevet 5783 History of Chemistry Articles Shimon Vega back in 2012. The question revealed how much he cared about the people he worked with, and this is probably the reason why, up to his illness, we remained close. The two years I spent at the Weizmann were very stimulating. From the very first days I was exposed to the group discussions about Liouville space, relaxation, and DNP. I was fascinated by the discussion between Akiva Feintuch, Yonatan Hovav, and Shimon but barely understood them. Shimon’s office door was always open, and we could come in anytime to bring up a question or discuss the experimental results. Shimon was a fantastic teacher for whom no question is stupid. Instead, he would not only explain in detail, but would reformulate until we really understood. The open door-policy had additional perks. During the discussion someone would come in and contribute or bring another question, expanding the scope of my initial visit. As a postdoc, Shimon and Akiva gave me the MAS-DNP project due to my coding skills but I barely understood the theory when I started it (of course, Shimon made me familiar with it). One day, I wanted to check the crosseffect simulations and ran them in absence of microwave irradiation. The result was “weird”: the nuclear polarization at steady state deviated from thermal equilibrium. I did not believe it and was sure that something was wrong with the code. Shimon had a different stance and we spent four days discussing and running simulations until we understood it. The effect was real. Shimon’s attitude taught me to welcome any result that would change my view of the problem. After two years at the Weizmann Institute, the MAS-DNP simulations officially became my project, one that I still work on. I was afraid I would lose contact with him and rejoiced when my (French) phone plan included unlimited calls to Israel: I could continue talking with Shimon while riding my bike in the morning. We officially continued to work together until 2017 and we last were in touch for science on a daily basis during spring 2020, when I was deriving the “Landau-Zener” cross-effect evolution operator for strongly coupled electron spins. Shimon was always modest in his presentations, and clearly was driven by the genuine interest of “understanding” any experimental observations. However, I would dare say that for him, personal relations were the most important aspect in his life. I witnessed it firsthand from his lifelong friendship with Daniella Goldfarb, Lucio Frydman, Zeev Luz and many others. As one may expect, after nine years, our relationship expanded well beyond the professional sphere. We would always begin our discussions with “How is life treating you?” or “How are the kids?” We last met at Euromar 2019 and every day gave me time to process these lessons. After a month Shimon said I was ready to run the first NMR experiment of 1H–29Si CP on mesoporous silica (of course with guidance from Shifi Kababya). By the end of the summer I was running variable temperature 13C–{17O} REAPDOR experiments that in addition to useful dephasing curves also caused a miniflood in the NMR room. This was a great summer and I summarized it in a poem to Shimon – “A fun summer it’s been, with magnetic resonance and O seventeen. But after all of the time you’ve put in, I still don’t know what is spin!” I really did not fully appreciate this period in real time, but when I came back to Weizmann as a graduate student I realized what a unique person and teacher Shimon was and chose to join his group for my PhD. With Shimon, and a yearly visit from Madhu, we were working on homonuclear and heteronuclear decoupling using Floquet theory to understand our results. Life was a constant debate between theory and experiment and a feeling of uncertainty and confusion. But what kept me going and kept it all fun was a kind of safety net I felt Shimon provided – I felt that Shimon had it all figured out. That in fact he had this master plan of what we were doing, and perhaps we’re missing a minus sign here or factor of two there, but overall he already knows what we will get because he solved it all late at night. I was never alone, any doubt or panic about some basic or complex concept that suddenly did not make any sense could be resolved after talking to Shimon (or after an email from him written at 4 am!). It was also great fun to argue with him about results and to be joyful together when theory perfectly matched the experiment. Towards the end of my PhD, during my postdoc and then after joining the Weizmann Institute as faculty, I learned that Shimon was also the kindest, most patient listener. It never mattered what he was in the middle of or how stressed he was, he was always happy to take a break and talk about whatever was on my mind, be it the next scientific or personal challenge. It was such a privilege to have my office two floors above his and my NMR lab two floors below his office, making it my first stop coming up from the lab whenever we got a new scientific success or failure. It will take me some time before I don’t pause on the second floor of the Perlman building. Shimon, I miss you. Thank you for all that I know and all that I don’t know… and now have no one to ask. Fred Mentink-Vigier “If you join us, then what will you do after your post-doc?” Shimon started my interview with this question. To be honest, I think the question made me join Daniella Goldfarb and