One of my colleagues, Greg Cahill…gone

This is sad news. Greg Cahill, an old acquaintance who had been a fellow graduate student with me at the Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Oregon, has died suddenly. I did not know him well, but I remember him as a fine fellow among my small cohort of fellow students, and it’s sad to hear of this unfortunate loss.


  1. #1 Alex
    December 28, 2008

    No one should have to die.

  2. #2 Alverant
    December 28, 2008

    I’m sorry about what happened. 50 is too young in this day and age. I don’t know his religious views but since according to Richard Dawkins biologists are more likely to be Atheists, or at least not very religious, but the first comment surprised me.

  3. #3 Zeno
    December 28, 2008

    My condolences, PZ, to you and his family and friends. It’s creepy when young people die, and I’m now at an age when 50 qualifies.

  4. #4 Patricia, OM
    December 28, 2008

    So sorry PZ. It’s always hard to loose school mates.

  5. #5 'Tis Himself
    December 28, 2008

    It’s sobering when someone younger than yourself (and me) dies.

  6. #6 Isabella
    December 28, 2008

    He died in the airport while waiting for his flight. Poor guy!

  7. #7 Coturnix
    December 28, 2008

    He’ll be greatly missed.

  8. #8 Monado in Toronto
    December 28, 2008

    I’m sorry to hear that an old friend and colleague of yours has died at such a comparatively young age. It sounds like he did interesting work – biological clock rhythms in zebra fish: Coturnix meets PZ. I hope that someone will carry on his research. Sorry for your loss.

  9. #9 Danio
    December 29, 2008

    What a loss for our field. The UO Institute of Neuroscience will surely be a somber place as news of his death travels. Thanks for letting us know, PZ.

    And shit, yeah, 50 is shockingly young. So sad.

  10. #10 JJR
    December 29, 2008

    Sorry for your loss, PZ. Sounds like the University of Houston lost a great man whose successor will have some mighty big shoes to fill.

  11. #11 Longtime Lurker
    December 29, 2008

    Too young to go, especially when the world needs people like him.

  12. #12 Chris Davis
    December 29, 2008

    I’m sometimes surprised that airport mortality rates aren’t higher.

  13. #13 reggie
    December 29, 2008

    #11 has it right. We need people like him. So sad he went too soon.

  14. #14 Michael
    December 29, 2008

    Sorry to hear of the loss. Someone that I knew died a couple of weeks back. She was driving to work and lost control of her car because of the ice, and then hit a van head on. Her mom and noticed the accident. Sadly, her mom was unable to go with her to the hospital (because they flew her via helicopter)where she died of head injuries 24 hours later. She was only 34 years old.

  15. #15 clinteas
    December 29, 2008

    I didnt know the man,but its terribly tragic when someone is taken so suddenly from his friends and family,and it happens much too often.

    Just yesterday a shark took a man off a western australian beach,while the son was watching from the shore.
    I see someone die from sudden cardiac death at least once a week,and those guys are in their 30s and 40s sometimes( age)now,and it creeps me out to know that anytime,anywhere,I could be next.

    All part of the human condition,but still tragic,and a shock when it happens.

  16. #16 Crudely Wrott
    December 29, 2008

    I remember reading about Greg’s work sometime back.

    I distinctly recall thinking how lucky we are to have such clever people who think to look in places most of us don’t know even exist.

    And then they find a way to apply what they have seen to the broader scope of human knowledge and well being.

    The idea that some small inquiry into reality by one person producing wide and unexpected value has always just knocked me out. How wonderful, how welcome, how . . . fitting, somehow. How human.

    And I see that his roots were in Minnesota, where he would have been right now.


  17. #17 Danio
    December 29, 2008

    I have been checking back in from time to time to read the various comments lamenting the loss of a great mind, and a contributor to scientific discovery. Then I read the comment in the Houston paper under the announcement of Greg’s death, and sure enough, some loathsome vulture calling him(?)self ‘dukenukem40’ writes:

    Prayers to the family of this man. Today, he’ll rejoice in the presence of the Lord! Who could be so blessed!!??!! God Bless all those who knew him.

    I find it horrifying to contemplate the number of people in the world, in the US alone, who are doing little more than twiddling their thumbs and counting the minutes until death–and their ticket to paradise.

  18. #18 Holydust
    December 29, 2008

    I agree with Danio. That comment disgusted me. I wish it could be removed, but alas.

    Some theobots will always be there to spit on the loss of a good man with their fairy tales negating the enjoyment of life on earth as we know it.

    He was a credit to U of H.

  19. #19 MrWill
    December 29, 2008

    Although I didn’t know him well, I did take a class of his while in graduate school at UH. He will be missed as a researcher, teacher, and most importantly a good human being.

  20. #20 ennui
    December 29, 2008

    Death is part of that package deal to which no one agrees–we are thrust headlong down the road of life, and are moving even before we know what it entails. It is a tragedy for anyone so valuable to so many, to go suddenly and young. It jolts us into re-realizing our own mortality and fragility.

    But it also makes us think about all the work that we have left to complete, against the ticking clock of our eventual demise. And we take motivation from this, to press on for each day of our remaining time. Because you never know.

    Very sorry to hear about your loss, PZ.

  21. #21 Lily Bamboo
    January 23, 2009

    I did my PhD at the University of Houston and knew Dr. Cahill. He will be greatly missed.

  22. #22 hery
    January 25, 2010

    It sounds like he did interesting work biological clock rhythms in zebra fish.

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