Prof Ian Snook (dec. April 7, 2013)

This web page has been created to give all of us who have fond memories of Ian a place to share our thoughts and reminiscences.

Please send any off-line comments to

(Photo courtesy of Harald Posch, post-processing by Denis Evans)


49 thoughts on “Prof Ian Snook (dec. April 7, 2013)

  1. Ian, we did not meet very often – but those few occasions where I had the chance
    to talk and listen to you will always remain in my memory. You had a wonderful
    clarity of thought and expression, combined with a calmness of mind and manners
    that would radiate out and positively touch everyone. Rest in peace.

  2. Snookie
    Encapsulating in words over fifty years of study, travel, and diverse experiences with a great mate is an impossible task. From our games of cricket in the backyard with your mother whilst we were at school to our final discussions prior to your passing has been too short a journey. I will always treasure the enjoyment in following a long line of argument to an often humorous and illogical conclusion. The flash of light in your eyes when you discussed the incompetence of some of the individuals you were forced to deal with – usually administrators. The pride and pleasure you held with the love of your life – Marie. The determination and dedication to the pursuit of knowledge; and the pride in the success of others you had influenced in their academic achievements were a great reflection of your character.
    Now you are sitting in the eternal grandstand watching the never ending match in the sky. Would you please save a seat for me nearby?

  3. I have found since Ian has gone that the close, supportive and above all fun, personal relationship I shared with him was a very common outcome of getting to know Ian.
    A remarkable man sorely missed.

  4. Dear Ian,
    I will miss you and your generosity, kindness and enthusiasm. I always looked forward to your very entertaining talks and the long discussions that followed. You presented new complex results in an engaging way and provided an insight into contemporary scientists at the same time. You were so full of life, and your memory and influence will continue forever.

  5. This is the text of my Facebook wall posting on April 7:

    RIP to Ian Snook, one of Australia’s statistical mechanics gentle souls. I just heard the news from RMIT’s Peter Daivis that he passed away after battling cancer for the past year. Snookie was a clever scientist (he was one of the first people to program molecular dynamics on then-new parallel architectures like the transputer and MasPar) but also a fun person to enjoy a drink with. He published several papers with my PhD adviser, the late Ed Smith. We’ll miss you, Snookie!

  6. I first met Ian when I was a summer scholar in the Research School of Chemistry at ANU after finishing Honours. Ian already had a PhD (!) and was an excellent mentor to me during that time – as well as a very nice fellow and fun to talk to. Over the years I have been fortunate to meet him again at conferences etc. and we could always start off where we had last finished – down to earth, no pretence, smart and always good fun. Will be missed by all who crossed his path.

  7. Always looking for a Aussi-Riesling, that can compete with a real German Rheingau Riesling … Dear Ian, you have enriched our stay in Melbourne with your warmth and your sense of humor very much. For me (Hajo) it was a pleasure to discuss with you science and many everyday things. We hope you will find the perfect Riesling!

  8. Ian, you inspired and supported me so much. It was a privilege and honour
    to know and work with you. A true gentleman. Rest in peace.

  9. Ian, you were always doing something new, something ahead of it time, something exciting even romantic, something joyous even fun, something inspirational. We will miss your wit and your laugh, but will always remember you.

  10. I,

    I have tried to write this 9 times now. I think it might be the first time I have writers block. But you were one of the few people who saw behind the curtain of my life and knew the real me, and I think you would know all the things I would say if there were words to say them.
    I have decided that I will tribute you, by being a tribute to you. Although I will be a poor reflection, I promise to be generous and collaborative (as you were), to persevere until I find the right solutions (as you did) and to keep and open mind that is unrestricted by conventional thinking. I hope when people see me, and my work, they will recognise something of you.
    Thank you for keeping my secrets, for pushing me back on track when I needed it, and for teaching to me the only sensible definition of entropy. I am a better scientist, and a better person, because you were in my life.


  11. I am one of the many people who are lucky enough to have been taught by Ian. My research career actually started with him as my supervisor. I have always enjoyed the spirit of camaraderie at RMIT Physics and the simulation group in particular. I am sure that Ian’s warm personality, leadership, and fantastic sense of humour had something to do with it! He was also a fountain of trivia, knowledge, and most importantly, wisdom, and was always happy to share them with whoever wanted to listen. We will always remember you, Ian.

  12. Dear Ian,
    I met you just a few times, but each of those occasions is etched in my memory! I always came away thinking what a wonderful person you were, but of course it was much more than that! You must have touched my heart with something special because my memory is hopeless for everything else! Reading everyones comments makes it clear to me why you left such a lasting impression. I so wish I could have had more opportunities to have spent time with you, but I will treasure the memories that I have of you.

  13. Too soon, too soon. I was shocked and saddened to hear of your illness and heard of your passing soon after. Thanks for the chats and the guidance offered in my time at RMIT. You will be sorely missed.

  14. There are some people one has the good fortune to meet who fill your soul with warmth, grace and sublime wit. Ian, you were one such person, and all of us who knew you will miss you terribly. My regular visits to RMIT will be emptier from now on, but my fond memories of the many lunches we shared, the animated discussions of science through to good food, cricket and the insanity of the bureaucratisation of academia, will stay with me forever. Not to mention that irrepressible and cheeky sense of humour! The world beyond this one is happier because you are there; alas we mortals left behind are much the sadder.

  15. Ian, your contributions to science and education cannot be measured nor quantified by any means or standards. More importantly it is your humour, humility, and approach to life that makes you such a joy to have a conversation with. You are not only a great teacher of science, but also a great teacher of life.
    Memories of you will never be forgotten.
    All the way from South-East Asia, SK

  16. Ian, I will miss you. You were a great inspiration to me when I entered the world of physics as a postgrad. I will always be grateful to you for shedding light on previously incomprehensible ideas in stat mech and quantum physics, for introducing me to Plato’s ethics, and for setting the finest example of a great scientist, scholar and human being.
    Rest in peace.

  17. Ian, thank you very much for your contributions to RMIT Platform Technologies Research Institute. A true scholar in mind and spirit, the Institute has lost a great researcher and mentor. You were an inspiration to all of us. You will live on through your work and will never be forgotten. We will miss you. Rest in peace.

  18. Ian,I will miss you very much,both with respect to your outstanding contributions to science,and with respect to your willingness to help and to interact,and pleasant conversations at various get -together- occasions. I have been privileged by the opportunity to collaborate with you in recent years,completing several joint papers,and I must say this has been an extremely pleasant experience,which I also will miss very much.Your comments on various issues always have been very inspiring.
    I will never forget these very nice memories and I hope that you did not have to suffer too strongly in your last days.

  19. Ian Snook’s early work with van Megan, stands as a milestone in the computer simulation of adsorption. It was one of my many rewards for being a regular visitor to Australia to have the pleasure of meeting him in person and hearing his talk on the reverse Monte Carlo simulation of carbon solids.

  20. Ian, I am privileged to have known you and delighted in your company in Melbourne and in Belfast. It is some comfort that your humanity and wit, alongside your scientific inspiration, will live on in memories, and like many others I will be raising a glass of Tasmanian red (or the next best) to you at every opportunity.

  21. Ian, you will be greatly missed by the scientific community, and your many friends world-wide. Your pioneering work in many areas has lasting influence, and will remain an inspiration to all of us. I enjoyed our several conversations on different occasions, and your sense of humor. I will always remember your helpful nature, and how you contacted your recent students in the area when I was looking for a postdoctoral fellow for my group.

    You will always be remembered as an inspirational scientist, a warm and humorous personality, and a good friend by one and all who have been fortunate to have met you. Those who were not so lucky will continue to receive guidance and stimulation from your work.

  22. Ian thank you for your outstanding contribution to Physics, Applied Sciences and RMIT over the years. I will greatly miss you’re gentle but perceptive comments and rye sense of humor. We have lost a great ambassador and mentor and above all an outstanding scientist.

  23. Ian, I will long remember those fun days in the 70’s and 80’s when there was never enough red to go round and never sufficient time to complete all those great projects..

  24. Ian, it was wonderful to know you for a long time as a colleague at RMIT. I was always impressed by the quality of your research and your fun loving nature. You will be sadly missed by all those who knew you.
    Sati Bhattacharya

  25. Ian – there are a lot of smart people – but a smart person with a joy of life like yours – you are one of those rarest of states in the configuration space of humanity. I never doubted that I was lucky to know you. May The Snook Abide.

  26. People may want to read this very personal article written by Ian on the occasion of John Barker’s death. It tells you as much about Ian as it does about John. Molecular Physics, vol 95, page 127-128, 1998.

  27. Ian,
    The scientific community have lost a great researcher, RMIT physics have lost an outstanding lecturer and we have all lost a great role model and friend. You have been inspirational for all the young scientists who was lucky to have worked with you. You will be missed Ian, but never forgotten.

    Sunnie Lim

  28. Ian, you were a great influence in my life. I always enjoyed working with you and especially valued your mentorship, support and respect. You had a kind and friendly nature and a passion for learning and discovery that was infectious. I also enjoyed our occasional correspondences in French, even if at times our grammar was far from perfect. You will be remembered with great fondness by those who knew you, and will be greatly missed.

  29. Ian Keith Snook,
    Delicate china cup in hand, giggling a Twinning’s tea bag – with zero pretense but infinite generosity, you shared your wealth of knowledge, your imaginative and unconventional thinking.
    Teacher, Mentor, Dear Friend,
    9675 CONTINUE
    GOTO 9675
    PS The counter was chosen at random as it should be according to IKS coding principles.

  30. Prof. Snook it was a pleasure to know you and to be taught by you. You wil be sorely missed.

  31. Thank you for all your support, guidance and encouragement all throughout my PhD. Reading these comments I was reminded of the Friday evening wine appreciation society and it made me smile. We will miss you Ian, it’s hard to imagine RMIT Physics without you.

  32. Ian had a great sense of humour – one of the funniest guys I ever met, as well as being a good friend and colleague. He will be sadly missed.

  33. Ian,
    I miss the complex fluids meetings at the round table, your down to earth explanations of otherwise complicated physics, your laughter, your commitment to students such as I, kindness and considerable patience. Like so many others, most of all, I just miss you,


  34. A great loss indeed. Let’s not forget that for every one tribute left here I am absolutely certain there are significantly more lives that Ian touched positively. Coming from the rank of former students of Ian’s; I can think of at least a dozen or so under-graduate class mates (whom have since escaped our contact) that had the utmost respect for Ian. A significant praise when considered in the context of the under-grad world. Personally, I was fortunate enough to enjoy Ian’s humour, learn from his wisdom, and then thanks to his understanding and insight, re-learn and further appreciate the same thing from another perspective.

  35. From Howard Hanley.
    Ian, you were, and are still, a true friend. Your students and colleagues have said many of the things I wanted to say – your wide range of interests, your warmth and humour, your intergrety – but I still want to say how much fun and how nice it was to be around you. I will miss so much our arguments on the serious aspects of life: England vs Australia in cricket, a Monarchy vs a Republic, Victoria vs NSW, to name a few.
    Thank you for being so much to so many people. Howard.

  36. I was reminiscing just the other day about the wonderful warn atmosphere I had the pleasure of experiencing during my PhD, in large part because of your warm spirit Ian. I remember the Friday evening wine appreciation society and how you and I, after sufficient appreciation would start to trade accents. Probably terribly boring for others but fun for us.

    A friend, a mentor, an inspiration. Thanks Ian, you are missed.

  37. Ian!

    We have had so much fun together over the years, from my first visit OZ on sabbatical, nearly 40 years ago to our last joint exploration of the South Coast Road, with our wives. All the champagne and oysters, plus seeing seven koalas at once! Fine memories. Thinking about one of your loves, the Langevin equation, brought me into contact with Peter Daivis just a couple of days before your death, and brought to mind again your friendly and thorough desire to know physics rather than bluff. Of course our joint appreciation of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and their colleagues complemented the physics well. We think how fortunate you and Marie were to have found each other and to have generated your fine Family together.

    With Love and Great Memories,
    Bill Hoover
    Ruby Valley NV USA
    10 April 2013

  38. My dear friend Ian, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and that we are largely as a result of influence by the people around us, well then I want to you know that above all others I’ve tried to imitate you – your positivity, your wonderful humour, your willingness to inspire everyone around you – you‘ve had a profoundly positive influence on my life, for these reasons know you’ll always be with me, you’ll always be a part of me, I shall never forget you. God bless you and keep you safe.

  39. Dear Ian,
    I’ll remember you fondly for too many good things to list. Your approachability to students and their ideas however wise. Your humility and anti-establishment take on life.
    Your fun loving nature from the round table to the endless humour. Your love of history and much much more. I am grateful for the time, laughs and wisdom you shared with us all.

  40. Ian, you gave me a warm welcome when I first visited you at RMIT in 2008. And you kindly accepted my request to join your research group as a visiting researcher. It was always enjoyable and constructive to discuss with you. I never forget those precious moments. Thank you for all you did for us. You were a great mentor and collaborator.
    You will be missed.

  41. Ian – you were a great lecturer. Thank you for making 4th year quantum mechanics fun and engaging. I was sad to hear of your passing and your battle with cancer. My deepest sympathies to all the RMIT folks and your family. May you rest in peace Snookie.

  42. Prof. Snook, it was your warm-hearted character, your smiles and laughter, your good nature and friendliness to all people, which left an everlasting impression, which we carry deep in our hearts.

    You will be always remembered in loving memory by all of us.

  43. Ian, for you no joke was too small to enjoy, ideas were worth exploring and so many people were worth spending time with and helping. You set a fine example and will be sorely missed.

  44. What a great inspiration for so many people, not just for the lessons he taught in class but the exemplary nature in which he lived his life. A true gentleman who gave so much for others. Thankyou for all the times you left your door wide open, I’ll never forget.

  45. Prof. Snook. Among countless other memories and experiences, I will always treasure spending a summer night in France at dinner with you and a bunch of tweed jacket academics. You were never conventional, and gave me a healthy scepticism of accepted wisdom. There was no better supervisor and mentor for me during my PhD and no doubt like many others, changed the direction of my life.

    You will be missed….but you have left an incredible legacy through your work and those you taught.

  46. Ian, we will miss you. From my undergraduate classes with you in 1978-9 to your most recent emails, you have been a major influence on my life, as you were for many others. I will always be inspired by your passion for physics, your humour and your love of life, music, literature and art.
    I would like to invite everyone who has fond memories of Ian to submit comments and memories.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s