Friends and family are celebrating the lives of two CU students.
The top floor of the Duane Physics building was full of laughter and tears as people joined together to mourn the losses of Jing Yin and Ethan Townsend Friday. This bittersweet event was a place for students, friends and professors to share memories of the two students, described by many as beloved.
Yin and Townsend were both killed by a rockslide while hiking a designated trail in Jiuzhaigou National Park in China last week. Yin was returning to China to visit family. Townsend, who was known by friends as a daredevil and a sightseer, had decided to join her.
Yin was a CU doctoral candidate who was researching laser physics and optics. She was president of the CU Chinese Students and Scholars Association. As president, she organized fundraisers for the earthquakes in China and taught English to Chinese exchange students. Townsend was also a doctoral candidate researching physics.
Henry Kapteyn, a professor of physics who worked in a research group with both Yin and Townsend, spoke at the memorial. Kapteyn made it a point to stress that Yin and Townsend touched all who knew them.
“Both were exceptional in their openness, enthusiasm and contagious energy,” Kapteyn said. “They were both amazing.”
Throughout the memorial, students and professors alike got up to share memories of Yin and Townsend. Each memory echoed the same idea, the idea that Yin and Townsend could never be replaced.
Margaret Murnane, a professor of physics at CU who also worked with Yin and Townsend spoke highly of the two students. When speaking of Yin she highlighted Yin’s devotion to both humanitarian causes and science research.
“After six months of joining our research group, Jing was already offering suggestions on who to collaborate with,” Murnane said. “I have no idea how she did as much as she did.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Lindsay Mullineaux at Lindsay.mullineaux@Colorado.edu.