When I arrived at Imperial, Jonny undertook to instruct me in the ways of calibrating magnetometers. He sat me down for a couple of hours each day after I’d painstakingly worked through another paper on the Cluster mission, the instrument or the complex coordinate transformations needed to produce highly accurate data. He would correct me gently, point me at a new set of well-organized resources (mostly generated by him). Then his eyes would crinkle into his beatific smile and he’d go away, leaving me awed, overwhelmed, and even more determined to earn his good opinion. When I stopped working on the Cluster mission, I didn’t quite complete everything I’d wanted to, but I was comforted because he was still there, being incredibly efficient and intelligent about his work and coordinating everyone else’s.
Much as I didn’t want to, I organized his leaving do on Tuesday. We drank and ate Korean barbecue and made silly faces at each other across the dinner table and drank some more. I made a speech, the contents of which I can’t remember, although I tried my hardest to convey the mixture of admiration, hero-worship, respect and affection I have for him. We gave him whisky. He took it all with his usual benevolent grace.
I will miss him terribly. I hope his next set of work colleagues know how lucky they are.