It’s hard to imagine Physics World without Dens’ guiding presence. She had a rare combination of forthrightness and warmth; though she always had high standards and would never suffer fools gladly (especially the older male physicist fools who made the terrible mistake of underestimating her), there was a deep well of kindness in her that made her a pleasure to work with. I will never forget her compassionate support during the redundancies that regularly hit the magazines/media group as it shifted between IOPP’s editorial and commercial departments.
The thing I miss most, though, is her humour. Dens was so much fun! Her hearty laugh could light up a room, and she regularly brought joy to otherwise ordinary afternoons in the Physics World office. I remember particularly the day she discovered a website that could morph our head shots into photos from a 1960s or 1970s American high school yearbook, years before AI made that kind of thing routine. The image of Dens as a bouffant-haired 1960s beauty queen left all of us crying with laughter – and she, of course, was laughing the hardest.
Perhaps my favourite memory, though, is of the time (back when we used to get print copies of various publications delivered to the office) when she picked up a copy of a rival magazine, dangled it between her thumb and forefinger, and declared, with delighted disgust, that its cover was “jobbie brown”. For me, this was pure Dens: funny, down-to-earth, fiercely competitive and above all proud that IOPP paid attention to design and would never put out a magazine with such an ugly cover. She really was one in a million; I admired her deeply and I will miss her so much.