William Gardiner Dr. Gardiner, a chemistry
professor at the University of Texas, broke his neck in a bicycle
crash on 11-14-00 and died a few days later. The Statesman reported
that he hit a metal cover in the road (the kind that covers
construction). We don't know anything beyond what the Statesman
Chemist, cyclist, lover of life:
Admirers recall UT's Gardiner
William Gardiner 1933-2000
Bill Gardiner often taught a
course at the University of Texas on thermodynamics, which is all
about heat and energy and movement. So was he. Gardiner, who spent
most waking hours in recent years working in UT's chemistry
department or bicycling, died Friday after a bike ride home from
work ended in a headlong pitch to a downtown Austin street. He was
"Bill Gardiner was a great
teacher," UT President Larry Faulkner said Monday. Faulkner knows
firsthand; he took a course in statistical mechanics from Gardiner
as a chemistry student at UT in the late 1960s.
"It was maybe the single
best-taught course I ever took," said Faulkner, who through the
rest of his graduate studies audited every course Gardiner taught.
Faulkner and others Monday also
recalled Gardiner's devilish sense of humor. Faulkner remembers
talking to him as one of Gardiner's numerous books was nearing
print, one that Faulkner as a student had helped vet. Gardiner
said the book would include thanks to him for his help.
"You're acknowledged as one of
those `too numerous to mention,' " Faulkner said Gardiner told
Friends, family, colleagues and
former students will remember Gardiner -- a world expert on
combustion chemistry, a sexagenarian soccer player, a
rain-or-shine bicycle commuter and a tough-love teacher -- at a
service at 2 p.m. today at St. Stephen's Episcopal School, 2900
Bunny Run. Gardiner is survived by his wife, chemist Regina
Monaco; his ex-wife, Gertraut Schimanski Gardiner; and daughters
Charlotte Gardiner of Austin, Amy Chanmugam of Austin and Grace
Baker of Houston.
Gardiner broke his neck about
10 p.m. Nov. 14 when he fell from his bike while riding south on
Guadalupe Street at Sixth Street. David Adcock, a professor and
colleague at UT, said Gardiner remained alert for most of the next
two days in intensive care until his death Friday morning.
Gardiner, Adcock said, lost control of his bike when his tires hit
a metal plate used to cover one of the road excavations around
downtown. He was thrown over the handlebars.
A city police report takes note
of the bicycle accident at Sixth and Guadalupe but doesn't mention
how the accident happened. Matthew Kite, assistant director of the
city's public works department, said he hadn't heard of the
accident but that his department would investigate as soon as it
receivesd a report from police.
Gardiner, a Niagara Falls,
N.Y., native, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University
in 1954 and later got his doctorate in chemistry from Harvard
University. He joined the UTniversity of Texas chemistry
department in 1960 and was still teaching and doing research there
until his death.
"He wasn't looking at
retirement at all, no way," said Ruth Shear, a UT chemistry
He had a reputation among
students as anything but an easy A and among his peers as a
brilliant and versatile scientist.
"His classes were well-known
for being hard," Shear said. "He didn't pull any punches. . . .
Yet a lot of the students, they would say he really cares; he
really tries to get you through it."
His informal office hours,
Shear said, were "1 p.m. to 1 a.m."
As for his professional
accomplishments, a partial list: two Fulbright scholarships, the
three definitive texts on the chemistry of combustion, a Humboldt
fellowship, numerous published articles in leading scientific
Away from the lab, Gardiner was
a unique specimen of a senior citizen. He played weekend soccer
for the Lazers club and would cross the country to participate in
long-distance bicycle races. He cycled Texas, too, including an
annual 150-mile ride from Houston to Austin. Adcock remembers that
a couple of years ago, Gardiner bicycled to College Station for a
seminar. And he commuted by bicycle every day to his home in far
South Austin. Gardiner and another professor, Adcock said, were
using some of their spare time in recent months trying to design
better bicycle lights.
At 67, his friends say,
Gardiner died young.
"Even though he looked like an
old man, he was one of the most youthful people I knew," Shear
said. "He was full of life."You may contact Ben Wear at
email@example.com or 445-3627. `Bill Gardiner was a great
teacher. . . . It was maybe the single best- taught course I ever
took.'UT President Larry Faulkner, who took one of Gardiner's
courses in the 1960s.
PHOTO, PHOTO; Photo: Rodolfo Gonzalez/AA-S; Metal plates covering
road construction pose a nuisance for drivers -- and a hazard for
cyclists such as William Gardiner, who was killed Nov. 14 when he
hit one of the plates and was thrown from his bicycle as he
commuted home from the University of Texas to far South Austin. //
William Gardiner started teaching chemistry at UT in 1960 and
became known as an exacting and dedicated instructor with a good
measure of energy and wit.
I've tried without success to get local groups to add their events to this calendar (Bike Texas, the Yellow Bike Project, City's Bicycle Program, Bike Austin, etc.)
If you'd like to help edit the calendar, or at least add your group's events to it, then please let me know!
Another site by Michael Bluejay...
Saving Electricity. Find out how much juice your stuff uses, and how to save money and energy. As seen in Newsweek.