...it was Jim who made the flame of Demography burn the brightest. It is now the turn of us all, Jim’s students and collaborators, to carry the torch.
Jim’s generosity toward me as a young researcher was formative. His philosophy of openness in sharing data inspired my own commitment to building and sharing data resources
Touching memories shared at a commemorative event in Odense
Some scholars contribute to science chiefly through their publications, others through their organizational and motivational skills, and still others through the force of their intellect. Jim Vaupel was one of the rare scholars who contributed to science in all of these ways
We will remember his youthful enthusiasm for innovative ideas how to develop research on population
Jim was an extraordinary scientist and human being. I feel lucky and grateful to have had the chance to meet him
Jim’s enthusiasm brought people together to pursue a common goal. That spirit continues today
I learnt how much he loved the field of Demography. A love that was contagious
I feel a deep sense of gratitude to him, and to the Institute that he founded. It is a magical place, and Jim was a magician
Jim’s energy and open personality attracted several other smart people around him.
Always kind, interested, humble and razor-sharp
He had the ability of «seeing the World in a Grain of Sand»
He also was gracious, kind, and a great mentor to others. Plus, he was fun!
Jim was an imaginative scientist who gave us important new questions to ponder and examples of how to think them through carefully
Jim was a generous supervisor and gave me the freedom to find my own path
He nourished innovative demographic research at Duke and contributed to its distinctive interdisciplinary model that transcends the natural and social sciences in a network of mathematicians, actuaries, biologists, geneticists, medical scientists, epidemiologists and formal and social demographers.
His personality, style and demeanor were not designed to make scientific contributions at the fifth decimal place
He has had an immense influence on the careers of new generations of demographers
Jim was a very generous boss, open minded and supportive. He believed in the potential of people and supported them to grow
"I’m your boss, but when it comes to science, we argue peers to peers"
His research work ranged from demographics to mathematics and statistics, from the social sciences to economics and politics, from biology to anthropology and genetics
I just really enjoyed being taught by Jim when he taught on the EDSD programme in Rome in November 2015
I seem to see him now as he said, "Graziella, why don’t we organize a European doctorate in demography together?"
I had the pleasure of meeting Jim about 15 years ago, when he was brainstorming the idea of an NIH Program Project grant for a set of cross-species studies of the health-survival paradox.
Jim was an enthusiastic explorer not bounded by the arbitrary limits of any discipline. And he thought that his beloved demography encompassed perfectly all his diverse research interests.
Jim has had a profound influence on my career by offering me the opportunity to join the European Doctoral School for Demography back in 2005.
Here I am, a little postdoc working in quite a different corner of demography to Jim, thinking how I am going to talk to this famous scientist for an hour
He always encouraged and recognised the work of our researchers and was a great support to the Centre
Jim Vaupel went on to create the first open-access journal in the discipline, Demographic Research, launched several training initiatives, such as the European Doctoral School for Demography and the Max Planck Research Network on Aging, and informed European decision-makers through the Population Europe network.
He deeply loved and appreciated the elegance of mathematics: a sentence he would probably have written first in his own obituary. To him, proving theorems and working on mathematical demography problems was – as he liked to say – what “angels tell each other on Sundays”.
Jim was an enthusiastic and long term member of EAPS, Chair of the EAPS Advisory Board and 2018 Laureate of the EAPS Award for lifetime achievements.
He inspired countless young researchers with his analytical abilities and his incredibly elegant communication both in writing and speech
He instilled a love for demography in generations of scholars across all disciplines, and in particular love for formal demography—or the champagne of demography, as Jim himself put it.
Demographers, who had the great privilege to collaborate with him in the last decades, will always remember him as a visionary researcher, academic teacher and engaged supervisor
Think big, be industrious and build strong alliances—these were his own guiding principles, and together with his talents, they took him far