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This page last updated September 16, 2019

Today is:
September 19 2019


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Remembering Claude Ribordy, Ph.D.
by Brian Russell, September 13, 2019

It is with great fondness that we remember Claude Ribordy, who recently passed away after a short illness at the age of 82. Claude was born in Switzerland and received his undergraduate degree in Physics from ETH in Zurich. While at ETH (Albert Einstein's alma mater) Claude received lectures from both the physicist Wolfgang Pauli and mathematician Eduard Steifel, inventor of the conjugate gradient method. (As an aside, Claude once told me that he actually once chatted with Werner Heisenberg at one of Professor Pauli's seminars!). Fritz Gassmann was also a professor at ETH while Claude was there, although Claude did not become acquainted with his work until much later while working at Hampson-Russell Software. He then received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, and went to work for CERN in Geneva.

Following the call of the mountains, Claude then came to Calgary to work as a geophysical researcher for the French company Elf Acquitaine, which later became Canterra. Claude was active in mountaineering for much of his life and was friends with many of the Swiss mountaineers in Banff and Lake Louise. In 1997, Claude joined Hampson-Russell Software as a geophysical programmer and spent twenty years with that company working on many seismic algorithms, including maintaining the GLI3D refraction statics program and developing the Principal Components Analysis (PCA) package within the Emerge software program. Claude was one of the most rigorous programmers I have ever known, with a strong knowledge of mathematics, physics and geophysics. When Claude said that a program was complete, it was complete, and bug-free! He was also fluent in English, French and German, and even had a smattering of Russian.

In 2017, Claude retired from Hampson-Russell, now a subsidiary of CGG, and became a research assistant in the CREWES consortium at the University of Calgary. Remembering his quantum mechanics studies at university, Claude had recently become very interested in quantum computing, and was reading extensively about the subject. For Claude, there was always something new and exciting to learn. We all remember Claude's twinkling smile and the colourful red sweaters that he wore each year for the CREWES photograph (sometimes bearing the image of his favourite character, Tintin!). Claude leaves behind his beloved spouse of over 50 years, Marie-Jeanne, and a host of loving nieces and nephews in Switzerland.


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