Remembering Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

Balsa Man
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Remembering Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

Postby Balsa Man » February 11th, 2018, 6:03 pm

On February 8th, Len Joeris passed away. He was involved in a one-car accident and died at the hospital shortly afterwards. This post is written by his two children, Jean and Ben. We wanted to inform you, this community which was so important to Len, and to remember his life and contributions.

Science was an important part of Len’s life. In high school, he won the National Science Fair by building a bubble chamber, a way to photograph subatomic particle interactions, only a few years after the Nobel Prize was awarded for its invention. He had a long and successful career in environmental engineering. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed skiing, backpacking and canoeing.

Len was an amazing father, and was deeply involved in our history with Science Olympiad. Starting in 2001, Ben got involved with Science Olympiad in Junior High. Len quickly became excited about the organization, and helped Ben with balsa building events. By 2005, Ben’s team made it to nationals. This was an incredibly exciting opportunity for both of them, and they remembered it for years to come. As Jean entered Junior High in 2005, his school did not have a Science Olympiad team. Jean and Len were instrumental in creating a team for the 2006 season. After Jean graduated in 2010, Len’s involvement in Science Olympiad only grew, along with his presence here on Scioly.

Len understood that collaboration is an essential part of science. While he enjoyed competition, he never let this interfere with sharing information with other teams, including here on Scioly. He saw understanding of the scientific process, and critical thinking, as cornerstones of education. He took great joy from Science Olympiad. It was primarily a way to pass an interest in science on to the next generation. Ben studied computer science and math, while Jean studied astrophysics and math. Their experience with him, including Science Olympiad, was highly influential in their choice of fields. Jean’s best friend also considers Len a father, and directly responsible for her career in engineering. In addition to helping students, and his presence on Scioly, he was involved in organizing and running balsa building events. He organized and ran the event at Northern Colorado regionals, as well as running the Colorado state event. He was incredibly excited that nationals are being held in Fort Collins this year, where he was organizing Towers, and was preparing to give a presentation on balsa building.

Over the years his balsa building knowledge and skills as an educator continued to grow. Through his experience, he developed tools and techniques to measure structural characteristics of balsa. This led to a system focused around frequent testing, and designing based on data. This not only built effective towers, bridges and boomilevers, it also allowed students to discover the scientific process. As his children, it is amazing to see the extent of his coaching and influence.

We are deeply saddened to share this news. We want to you to know how much this community meant to him. If you have any questions, please email Jean (jeanjoeris@gmail.com)
Len Joeris
Fort Collins, CO

Raleway
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Re: Remembering Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

Postby Raleway » February 11th, 2018, 6:16 pm

Len was the person everyone came to in this Towers community for help. When people asked questions, he responded. It didn't matter if it was addressed to him or not; he would respond with his opinion and share his wealth of knowledge selflessly. His knowledge and love of balsa structures helped each one of us on this forum year after year, letting us better understand the concepts of engineering and bringing science to the forefront of these events. He was a mentor figure to all, being patient with each of us and expanding greatly upon the knowledge of the community as a whole. With his help and dedication, many of us benefited and grew to better understand the balsa events. In remembrance of Len, I will be writing his name on each of my towers this year and boomilevers for next year. I hope the rest of the community will do the same to remember someone who has helped all of us so much with his time.

God bless, and may he rest peacefully.
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God bless Len Joeris | Balsaman

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Re: Remembering Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

Postby stevepilot » February 11th, 2018, 8:24 pm

So sorry to hear about this. He was the person who sparked my interest in towers in the first place, and his generous contributions to not only the event but the community as a whole will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.
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2018 - Optics, Thermodynamics, Towers.

In memory of Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

2018 Towers - 4th

nnaya
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Re: Remembering Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

Postby nnaya » February 12th, 2018, 3:55 am

May BalsaMan rest in peace.
He seemed benevolent, kind and generous, sharing his wisdom and information with everyone.
I am sure he taught the kids and coaches many life lessons through his involvement in this forum. His legacy will live on through his posts.
It is heart breaking that this was the year SO was coming to his home town :(

cool hand luke
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Re: Remembering Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

Postby cool hand luke » February 12th, 2018, 5:19 am

Wow. Unreal. So sad for his family and what a huge loss to the community.

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Re: Remembering Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

Postby DarthBuilder » February 12th, 2018, 5:38 am

This is really sad and I wish the best for the Joeris Family. He was really helpful throughout the whole Scioly community and put in a lot of effort to help as much people as possible. I’ll be doing what Raleway is doing and write his name on my towers and towers container for the rest of the year.
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kinghong1970
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Re: Remembering Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

Postby kinghong1970 » February 12th, 2018, 6:09 am

my condolences to his family for their loss.

I've always looked at every one of his "wall of text" reply posts with a level of detail and explanation with utter amazement.
i've always admired his level of dedication to this event

he will be missed.

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WhatScience?
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Re: Remembering Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

Postby WhatScience? » February 12th, 2018, 6:19 am

My heart goes out to the Joeris family.

Balsa Man was a huge part of this community and it was his posts that actually gave me an idea about what to build for towers. I had no idea what I was doing and he helped me.

I will also be writing his name on my towers for the rest of the year.

His dedication to this event will never be forgotten.

I wish his family the best of luck for the future.
"When you clean your room, you are increasing the total chaos of the universe" - Hank Green Crash Course (Entropy)

Events 2018

Thermodynamics, Potions and Poisons, Disease Detectives, Optics, and Towers

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Re: Remembering Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

Postby Tesel » February 12th, 2018, 7:55 am

This news comes as a shock.
Len, or Balsa Man as I knew him, truly took my interest in towers to the next level. His work changed it from a simple build event to a complex one, with fascinating calculations and engineering principles. Everything I understand know is because of his work.
He was entirely selfless. He spent hours writing long posts and explanations about previously unknown topics. He was tireless and patient as he answered hundreds of questions. He was always kind, even when he was forced to repeat himself. He shared information even when he might have been better served to conceal his work and let others fail. He saw others' success as his own reward.
In short, he was kind and generous to dozens if not hundreds of complete strangers, people who he had never even seen in person. I can only imagine his compassion and kindness towards his family, the people who he deeply loved. My heart goes out to the Joeris family for losing such an amazing presence in your lives.
I promise his work, dedication, and passion will never be forgotten.
University of Michigan Science Olympiad Div. C Event Lead

2018 MI Mission Possible State Champions

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NeilMehta
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Re: Remembering Len Joeris (Balsa Man)

Postby NeilMehta » February 12th, 2018, 7:58 am

Balsaman truly was an inspiration to everyone who went on the forums, reading his intricate and detailed explainations on what seemed like any build subject imaginable. His vast experience and expertise was a cornerstone of Scioly.org’s build forums, and his enthusiasm and spirit spread to us all, showing us the joy of dedication and passion to this wonderful community.

Thank you, Balsaman, Len, for everything you have given to this community. Thank you for the work you have put in as a coach, teacher, and role model. Your dedication will never be forgotten.

With love,
Neil
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