Saying goodbye to Garth

As regular readers will note, there is no “On Science” by Garth Buchanan in today’s Herald. I am sad to say that, for personal reasons, Garth has retired from writing his column.

For almost two decades, he has written a monthly column for the Herald. He brought to that a doctorate degree in applied science, 35 years of real-world experience and an eager and inquisitive mind.

I don’t know his exact age, but he is a veteran of World War II, and I can testify that he is sharp as a tack. I suspect Camp Hale, the 10th Mountain and a lifetime of skiing contributed to that.

Garth’s column was a model of intellectual honesty. He enjoyed debunking popular silliness and countering dangerous unscientific prejudices. Anyone who read him regularly came to understand that correlation does not prove causation, that one study cannot provide a definitive answer and that basing judgments on the last thing you read in line at the check stand is ridiculous. As intended, it was an ongoing lesson in science.

He was also an editor’s dream. Not only did he never miss his deadline, I could set my watch by him. And his copy was unfailingly clean and well-written. I did have to change a few things to comport with Associated Press style, but AP style is less an organized body of thought than a secret handshake, and Garth never endured the requisite hazing.

In any case, I have been consistently deviating from AP style by referring to Garth on second reference by his first name. I take that liberty for personal reasons. His mugshot notwithstanding, he is a warm and friendly man whom I admire and enjoy. I hope to keep seeing him at City Market, but, from here, I’ll miss him.

­– Bill Roberts

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