Lydia 20th January 2021

What a tremendous loss. And what a tremendous privilege to have known and worked with Mike. I met him during my PhD time at the MBA in Plymouth in 2001 … or rather, at the very end because he was my external examiner. Gosh was I nervous to meet the man whose mathematical model of multilayer reflectors I had incorporated into my research and I felt more than nervous about the risk of possibly not being able to recall details of this method off the top of my head. But he loved my thesis and the work I had done and I had a truly energizing viva. After I finished my PhD, I joined Justin’s lab out in Brisbane and unbeknownst to me, Mike, Rosemary and Penny were there too. Mike was on sabbatical. Working with Mike was probably the high point of my post-doc time in Brisbane. We spent several field trips together on Heron and Stradbroke Island. On one particular evening on Straddie, Mike and I were standing at the fish tanks in the lab, each holding a beer (not sure how many we’d had by that point… we had spent the day collecting and setting up and had had an enjoyable “field trip style” dinner … probably pasta!). We were standing there, at the edge of this tank, staring at these fish. They were Paradise Whiptails, kind of simple fish, unless you start staring at them, the way we were doing. We didn’t say much, the water pumps were noisy and we were all pretty tired. All of a sudden, we looked up, and then looked at the fish again… it seemed like they had a colour changing stripe on their noses… Was that possible? Then Mike looked at me and he said: “I must have had too much to drink. Are you seeing this?” Well, fast-forward a few months and we had a paper in JEB about this story. I wanted to become a scientist because of people like Mike. For me, personally, he set the standards on many fronts. Like finding a way to do science with the means available to you; only buying fancy equipment if you need to, being generous about sharing and discussing ideas, helping in a constructive way, seeing the big picture, even if you’re looking at a fraction of a snapshot. Last but not least, his bubbly personality and infectious sense of humor were one of a kind. He will be thoroughly missed. Lydia