Remembering Prof. Kristen Nygaard

I am Liu Xiyang from Xidian University of China. In the April 1998, Prof. Nygaard visisted our university with his wife. His insightful lectures about Object-Orientation impressed me greatly. As you know, it was definitely a god-given opportunity for me to listen lectures on OO presented by one of its inventors, Prof. Nygaard. I asked many questions about Object-orientation, software and even computer science. In that 2 weeks, I listened to the lecture in every afternoon, and discussed questions with Prof. Nygaard in the evening. I remember clearly that Prof. Nygaard's wife was also with us. We enjoyed ourselves in that time. I also remembered clearly that in the Friday, when his lectures ended, he invited me and 2 or 3 students to a very famous restaurant in Xi'an. And he very liked the tea there, so I bought some very good tea as a present, he was very glad. I remembered he also went to my institute to give an additional lecture on the BETA programming language, this lecture was historical, all of the listeners including all the professors felt that they had never listened lectures as insightful as this one. Since then, I kept a very good contact with him.

In the Sept. 1999, Prof. Nygaard was invited as the keynotes speaker by the TOOLS'Asia 99 conference hold in Nan'jing China. Prof. Nygaard called me via phone that I would better to go to Nan'jing to meet him. At that time, I was involving a research project. So I asked my leader to let me join Prof. Nygaard. He kindly agreed. I remembered in Sept. 26 I met Prof. Nygaard in the GuNanDu hotel in Nanjing. We were very happy, and Prof. Nygaard and I shared a bottle of whiskey. In the next morning, we went to ShangHai by train. In the noon we arrived at ShangHai FuDan University, Prof. Nygaard offered lectures in this University in Sept. 27 1999. And I listened again to his excellent lectures on OO. It is a rare opportunity for a young student like me to listen Prof. Nygaard's lectures on OO, and it is even a god-given one to listen his lectures twice. I remembered Prof. Nygaard kindly suggested me to apply for a post doctoral fellewship in Norway and do research with him. In the later times, he often sent e-mails to me and encouraged me when I felt bad. The following was extracted from one e-mail to me in March 6th 2001:

"Dear Liu xiYang,
Thank you for your new letter. I am convinced that you now will stick to what you have stated there. Good for all of us: you, your wife, and me.
I felt honoured by the trust you showed me by telling me openly of your problems and doubts. We all need friends who we can share our situation with and get advice, because we all experience difficulties in our professional and private lives. I hope that you will continue to show me the same trust in the future."

All of this seems just happened yesterday.

In 2001, the last year, the good news one followed by one. The first one was that Prof. Nygaard and Dahl were awarded the IEEE John von Neumann Medal, the second was the even more encouraging ACM Turing Award. I remembered in Feb. 7 of this year, I received Prof. Nygaard's e-mail that he and Prof. Dahl were awarded the ACM Turing Award, the top honour in the computer science. And he was very active to carry out the COOL project, I was honoured to be appointed as a planned member.

Prof. Nygaard loved the computer sicence, loved the society. This love had not any precondition. He contributed much to the computer science. His firm belief that "better ideas have more opportunity to win in the long run" will encourage me for ever. He will live with us for ever.

Best regards
yours sincerely
Liu Xiyang
Aug. 17, 2002