IN MEMORIAM - Professor David Ferreira - Tribute
José Fernandes e Fernandes
(...) He was an unquestionable and tolerant leader, so those who were closer to him tell me. He was a Professor who paid attention to the life of the Faculty, and his action was essential for strengthening science, and for the setting up of the Institute of Molecular Medicine, which brought together the most productive scientific centres and that he encouraged, with interest, albeit informal and seemingly distant.
I knew David Ferreira quite well. He was from my part of the country, and when I was young I was a friend of his deceased brother, who spoke with enthusiasm and admiration of his scientific path abroad, which aroused my interest and respect. (...)
João Lobo Antunes
(...) His career was a surprising sequence of right decisions: he did not miss a note; he did not miss a step. He just came in, and exited, with an extraordinary vision of opportunity and a precise diagnosis on how to make the best use of opportunities. For this reason, he comes to the legal end of a career on top, with the full peace of mind of those who fulfil their duty, never rejecting the luck he ultimately deserved.
Finally, please forgive me for getting this off my chest, and for making a confession with some embarrassment. I will miss you Professor! I will miss not seeing you in the boardroom, right opposite the highest chair in which the School sits me, because during our meetings, there was always an uninterrupted flow of silent understanding, an unmeasured complicity, and often a trace of malice exploding in your open and boisterous laugh. And in this solemn and circumspect university, few of us laugh and make others laugh (...)
Maria do Carmo Fonseca
(...) It was thanks to David Ferreira that I discovered the world of science. I remember the year 1977, when I joined the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon. Sitting in the front row of an inhospitable and degraded amphitheatre, I avidly took in the Cell Biology classes given by Professor David Ferreira in the early evening. He told us stories of discoveries made by people whom we came to know by name. And I dreamed, how will it feel like to discover something? (...)
(...) His were really master classes. I only realized later the reason why they had such an impact. It was obvious that when he taught us cell biology, he tried to awaken our curiosity about the origins of knowledge and make us understand its strengths and weaknesses, and pass on to us his interest about scientific research, which he saw as his mission. It was certainly as part of this mission that he decided to set up the GAPIC. He did so in order to give his students a chance to formulate a scientific question and test it, and to be able to share the true thrill of discovery – in the same way as he lived it (...)
João Eurico da Fonseca
(...) The high commitment he got from students and, no less important, from assistants created a healthy competition among all classes, which were motivated to produce the best poster, the clearest abstract, and the presentation with the highest impact. However, Professor David-Ferreira had another goal in this initiative. With his wit and experience, he sensed in some students the necessary restless spirit, nonconformity, and perseverance to change the way teaching was conducted, as monitors, and in research, as trainees at the Gulbenkian Institute of Science (...)
Ana Cristina Mota
(...) It all started at that non longer operational library, a dark locked room with piled up books and where the professor had seen a light, the light of knowledge, and the light of a space that I have come to call “mine”. I remember so well how your eyes sparkled when you talked about this project, your project, to modernize the Institute of Anatomy, specifically the remodeling of the Morphological Sciences Centre. The pleasure and privilege I had to work directly with you and be part of that team was immense, and you, Professor, knew it (...)
(...) I was twenty when I came to the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon. I was very lucky to have been welcomed by Professor David-Ferreira, a man who was always cheerful, easy-going, and above all, very nice (...)