Upon Bill Rhode's Retirement

It was with considerable dismay
That we learned just the other day
That Bill Rhode has chosen to retire.
The situation is luckily not fully dire
Because he will continue not to shirk
His scientific activities and his work.
We can still stop downstairs to dispute
How we hear or how to compute.

Is it that Bill wants to see more light?
His lab all these years has not been bright.
From grad school to the day he retired
The basement was where his work transpired.
Bill worked long and hard in gloom
With never a window in any room
Off halls filled with things that long ago were bought
And that await use but are rarely sought.

The dreariness of his surroundings,
Contrasts with Bill's scientific findings.
His work illuminated issue after issue.
Without changing the mechanics of the tissue,
When opening inner ears to measure what moved,
Bill first used the Mossbauer Effect and proved
That ears have motors that allow us to hear
Small differences in pitch from far and near.

His work also addressed the question how ears
Feed information to the brain so that it hears.
How is timing and spectrum used to glean
Where sounds come from and what they mean?
Some cochlear nuclear cells encode in microseconds
And thus the ups and downs of sounds can reckon.
Others integrate spectrally and take a broader view
Of whats out there that is interesting and new.

Bill's work has been recognized far and wide.
From fame, though, Bill has always shied.
As a colleague he's been modest and generous,
Taking on tasks even when they were onerous.
What Bill taught me was the basis of my career;
He made what was complicated, usable and clear.
For helping even when the going got rough,
I cannot ever thank him quite enough.

Donata Oertel
Aug. 31, 2006

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