It is with great grief that I am (re)opening this probablog with the news of Oded Schramm‘s death in a hiking accident. Oded was probably the world’s leading probabilist (though he may not have called himself that), owing to (but not just to) the invention of the Schramm-Loewner evolution (he called it “stochastic Loewner evolution”). You can read more about him and his mathematics here, here and here.
On a more personal note, while I didn’t know Oded very well, I did meet him more then a couple of times, and we have a joint paper (together with Itai Benjamini). He was one of the major reasons I wanted to get a postdoc position in the thoery group at Microsoft Research, and it certainly helped that he wrote one of my recommendation letters. In the past couple of months (since I started working here) we had a few mathematical conversations, but I was not in a hurry, figuring that I had two whole years to work with him. Also, he did not have much time, being very popular among the many visitors coming here in the summer. He was always a joy to talk to and work with.
The picture above is the last picture he took of himself, on the top of Guye Peak.