I have never met Warren DeLano. But, I have respected him from afar for a long time. Warren is the developer of PyMol, an Open Source molecular visualization system that has made enormous contributions to the community and can produce stunning visualizations of Proteins. His impact on the field of protein visualization has been recognized many times by the community and his tools are used in labs all over the world. He has garnered respect across our community.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to spend an hour on the phone with him after he had made such positive comments when the RSC acquired ChemSpider. We talked about Open Science, Open Source and models of business. We talked about the adventure of trying to change the world one step at a time by making our humble contributions to the world of science. By the end of our conversation I knew that when I met Warren we would be able to talk for many more hours as we shared many common views and, primarily, a want to make a difference.

Today I learned of the sad news that Warren had passed away. Despite the fact that I hadn’t yet managed to sit with Warren face to face I was immediately  saddened. My truth is that there is a specific type of shock I feel when someone younger than myself passes away. Warren and I talked about the impact of our chosen career paths on our relationships with our wives and the hours spent in front of a screen instead of spending them with those we share our lives with. We both reflected on the fact that we have given too much to the keyboard over the years driven by our need to make a difference. Warren’s hard work and superior programming skills and are paralleled by the fact that he was clearly a charitable contributor to science by giving his code away to the world and was, even based on only one phone call, a kind man.

My thoughts go out to his wife and family for his loss.

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One Response to “In Memoriam – Warren DeLano”

  1. Sean says:

    I met Warren for the first time last year at the CDD community meeting. I thanked him on behalf of all my friends and former colleagues that had used PyMol and probably would never get to meet him. A truly very nice fellow who made a lasting contribution. Very sad to think I will not get chance to see him again.

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