I know Jeremy had many friends, many that I am sure were closer to him than I was. But to me, Jeremy was important. I have a difficult time making friends. Sure, I am friendly to lots and lots of people, but the list of people I really consider friends, people I can tell anything, is very short... maybe 5 people including my wife and a couple relatives. Jeremy was one of those people.
I saved many of the emails that Jeremy sent me, thinking that one day I would somehow make them into a thoughtful gift for him. As I look through them now, I am reminded of what a huge impact he had on me personally.
July 2008: There is an email containing a link to a PDF version of a book titled "Christian Reincarnation." Jeremy and I had many long discussions all sorts of topics, especially religion. When we talked, we often disagreed - but it was no problem, he just calmly stated his argument. I began graduate school narrow-minded, I left with a much broader view thanks to Jeremy.
When we disagreed, sometimes I was right, sometimes he was. One argument we had was on the difference between animals and people. I was arguing that animals are so primitive that they aren't capable of making choices they could be held accountable for, and one evidence of their primitive nature was that "you don't see animals making art!" Well, it wasn't long before I had to eat crow. It turns out that if you give an elephant a paintbrush, they will make art. They paint pictures of other elephants.
We jogged and played tennis together. We ate lunch almost everyday for over a year. He loved Tabasco pepperoni from The Pi. He showed me where to buy pre-packaged Indain food that is delicious. Many times I fed him special burgers from the BBQ.
October 2008: There are emails discussing the market crash. Jeremy often predicted this, and had a number of hair-brained conspiracy theories to support connections between the meltdown and a variety of causes.
2008-2013: One time, in the lab we were talking about music. I was defending Led Zeppelin. We went back and forth for a while until he exclaimed "Listen dude, butt-rock is for wankers." For some reason I thought this was so hilarious I was rolling around laughing. From that day forward, for years now, I have been calling people (and getting called by people) a wanker.
September 2009: We have extended discussions about quasi-crystals (before there was a Nobel prize for them), and early warnings that proceed critical transitions. There are emails giving me support leading up to major exams.
November 2009: We often talked over the years of somehow joining forces, working together outside of grad school. For example, when we were trying to get the cover for Adv. Mater. he said:
"seriously... its a big deal. my research, combined with you artistic talents...... think of the possibilities. the brain and the pen..." Of course, I responded that it would be much easier for me to use my own brain along with my pen to cut out the middle-man. His response: "Wanker."
I talked about working in Girona, Spain:
"The university of Girona could use a couple of guys like us in their new nanoscience department. They work like 9 months out of 12, have killer benefits, and live in a half ancient half modern city on an elegant Spanish river. Girona is a family oriented city too. It's perfect."
He said: "im in."
I have many messages that are very short, like this one-
February 2010: "Dude. I have become obsessed with Sherlock Holmes since I saw the movie. Plowing thru all the books."
Because of him, I read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and "1984".
We emailed and talked about everything. Jobs. Family problems. Medications. Books. Medical problems. Philosophy. About a year and a half ago I was going through a "crisis of faith." At its peak one afternoon I became panicky and emotional and just needed to talk to someone about it. I called two people, he was one of them. When the US government was interviewing people for his top-secret clearance, I was one of the people they talked to.
Our emails and phone calls continued right up until the weeks before he died. I was trying to get him to come out to Germany. We discussed details of my current work. He taught me everything I know about photonic crystals. He taught me how to use Linux. He taught me how to use the MIT Photonic Bands package, Origin, Thunderbird Portable, Pandora, Python, Band Diagrams, and on and on and on. He changed my ideas about religion and the universe! I call people wankers, and occasionally listen to Rihanna because of him. Daily, I use the tools he taught me to use.
The last email he sent to me, just 4 days before he died, was typical of his friendly concern for others. He wished me a happy birthday in the subject line-
On 6/23/2013 4:53 PM, Jeremy Galusha wrote:
Whats up with you?
So Jeremy Galusha, I'll never know if I really mattered to you. I suppose I don't know if you ever realized how much you mean to me. But, you matter a whole hell of a lot to me. When I heard you died, I was in shock, and even now I am in grief. I pray that somehow, through the great divide or veil or whatever it is that separates the living from the dead, that you can see that you mattered. Your life made a difference and will be remembered.