“Each mind to achieve its full potential needs a SPARK. The spark of enquiry, excitement, and passion. Often that the spark comes from a teacher. There was teacher behind every great artist, every great philosopher, every great scientist. However difficult life can be, teachers have always been there, behind the scenes, showing us the way forward” — Stephen Hawking, 2016.
Manny Parzen, my greatest mentor and my hero, was that SPARK in my life. He changed my whole outlook by opening a new window for viewing the landscape of Statistical Science — The “Parzen’s window.” I was hooked by discovering the joy of “connecting the dots.” It was the turning point in my career.
A lot what I do, how I do, and why I do is heavily influenced by those wonderful years I spent with Manny. I salute my real master Manny Parzen, who infused in me a sense of purpose, which drives me to do meaningful research; who taught me the art of asking the right question whose solution really matters. THANK YOU for igniting the passion for the study of fundamental laws of numbers. I hope someday we’ll be able to fulfill your dream and vision for “United Statistical Theory and Algorithms” to reboot 20th Century fragmented Statistics.
To access the scientific impact of a researcher, I often run a quick thought experiment by asking what will happen if I remove this person from the history of that discipline. If we dare to do that experiment for Manny, there will be a multidisciplinary collapse: Statistics, Econometrics, Machine Learning, Signal processing (and Data Science, which will soon be clear). His innovations were pillars for modern data analysis.
In my last telephone conversation on Jan 7th, I told him: we should catch up soon, and his reply was “I will send you a note”; Feb 6th will be remembered as the saddest day in my professional life. I will miss my HERO dearly, but the friendship we had will never be forgotten from this day until we meet again. You will always remain Deep in my heart.
I am still recovering from the shock. I am now more focused and determined than ever to run the show; I’m looking forward to the day when you will welcome me saying: “It was a good show, my boy. Let’s raise a toast together.”
In eternal gratitude and love,