Introduction to the Session on Frontier Topics

⚽ Evelyn Wang shares a memory of playing with Millie when she was in middle school.
by Evelyn Wang
Jun 27, 2018chevron-down
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Introduction to the Session on Frontier Topics
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Evelyn Wang
Frontier Topics Session, MRS Memorial


Me, my dad, and Mario Vecchi at the memorial for Millie. Photo credit: Leora Dresselhaus-Cooper
Me, my dad, and Mario Vecchi at the memorial for Millie. Photo credit: Leora Dresselhaus-Cooper

Hello, my name is Evelyn Wang, and I am a co-chair of this session. I’d like to start off with a short anecdote about my time with Millie.

Millie always brought her violin when she came to visit us!
Millie always brought her violin when she came to visit us!

One of my fond memories of Millie was when I was in middle school. I had heard from my dad that Millie was coming to LA for a meeting at CalTech, and that she was planning to visit our home afterwards. I was so excited! I knew that she always brought her violin with her, every time she visited us, and I loved playing with her.

This time, I got a pleasant surprise! Her son, Paul, was in the area — and he could play the viola.  I was told he would be joining Millie at our house. It was very exciting, because my brother, Ben, played the cello — so all together, we had exactly the right players for a quartet! It was certainly a chamber music night.

I play with my brother, Millie, and Paul at my house.
I play with my brother, Millie, and Paul at my house.

Then I thought a little more, and realized I was suddenly very nervous to meet her. I had played with her before, of course, but a lot had changed since then. I’d started hearing more and more about her accomplishments as a scientist and violinist. Did I need to impress her? What if I wasn’t up to her standards?

But I needn’t have worried. The moment Millie entered our house, she greeted us all with her warm and genuine smile. My nerves eased immediately, and I was ready to play. We started off with a movement of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and continued through the night with a fun repertoire of chamber music.

I hope that as we honor Millie, we remember both her scientific accomplishments — and her incredible way of putting those around her at ease. It’s something I, personally, will never forget.

Photo courtesy of Zhiting Tian
Photo courtesy of Zhiting Tian
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