I will always remember the evening Reka gave Judit and I a yoga class - and then we all went for a swim ! Also, I will always remember Judit kindly inviting Gren & I for breakfast on the morning of Reka & Peter's wedding!
I remember that of all the chemistry faculty members, including TA's and lab coordinators, Judit was the one I was least intimidated by in first and second year and she really fostered my interest in the subject.
I had Judit in second year o-chem lab and it was a really great experience. She was very approachable and helpful.
Judit was my dear friend, and we went on many memorable adventures in the few years I knew her. From hiking – to the top of Black Mountain, in Gallagher’s Canyon and Bear Creek, and out to Paul’s Tomb to name a few of the gorgeous places we saw together. We were there for the record salmon run at Adams River. We skied at Big White, in the sun and in Big White-out conditions. We went boating and swimming (or more often, I watched her swim), and for drives in the mountains. Most amazing was the trip we took to Europe in the summer of 2010. Judit packed as much as she could into every day, seized any opportunity to be outside in nature, and lived spontaneously and boldly. She was joyful and open hearted. With her I did many things that were outside my comfort zone but always worthwhile experiences. I learned a lot about how to enjoy life from her. She is gone from us much too soon and is dearly missed.
I was working on the rotovap yesterday, a device used to pull solvent off of a non-volatile product, and had a flashback of being in my Chem 204 lab, where Judit was my TA. The lineup of people using the machine was pretty long. After looking on my benchtop, I came up with an idea that might speed things along, and I shared it with Judit, “What if I just put my product dissolved in dichloromethane in a filter flask, rubber cap the top, and then just use the tap-vacuum while twirling my filter flask around, like this? Would that work too? It’d be like a handy home-made rotovap, wouldn’t it?” She looked at me, smiled, and said “Yes, Roger, it’s basically the same thing,” and I could see her become excited to see me grasp the principle, “But because it has a better vacuum and we can collect more of the solvent to dispose of properly, the rotovap is really the better way. Just be patient.” She often did that when students thought up reasonably intelligent things- she encouraged them to do so with her own natural enthusiasm, not just for chemistry, but for newly-learned concepts in general. It wasn’t until I became a TA that I realized how much work she actually did, and yet still had that wonderful disposition to be excited about random undergrads figuring out the this’s and that’s of organic synthesis. I’m just glad I was among the lucky who got to be one of those undergrads.