Being a seriously late-bloomer, no teacher in graduate school made the mark on me they probably could have, had their seed fallen on more fertile soil. Then along came Mervyn, four years later. I spent a year with him at the ANU in 1964, and that’s when I began to grow up. We did experiments together, wrote a paper together and took part in evening wine and cheese seminars, in the heady company of Chris Weaver, Barry Raleigh and John Christie, three other visitors. Clear language, careful thinking, perfect honesty and modesty – these were the nutrients Mervyn provided us all. Not to mention the chance to work shoulder-to-shoulder with him in his laboratory.
By welcoming me to Australia, Mervyn also advanced my acquaintence with Bruce Hobbs and Paul Williams, toward what was to become a productive collaboration about ten years later. So I owe a great deal to Mervyn and can only hope he had similar big boosts from seniors in his own career.