Jon Driver died suddenly on 28th November 2011. Jon was a wonderful individual; a loving son, husband, father and brother; and an irreplaceable friend and colleague.

This is a place for everyone who knew Jon to share our memories of him and through this to help celebrate his life.

If you would like to add a description of your memories of Jon to this blog please contact with the text you would like posted. We welcome any contribution, from short snippets to longer pieces. Please bear in mind this is a place to remember Jon and to help celebrate his life.

As well as this blog, there is also a photograph album to which friends and colleagues are most welcome to contribute. If you would like to add one or more pictures please email it/them to

22 June 2013

from Lisa Tweedie

I am so sorry it has taken me so long to hear about Jon's untimely death.
I knew Jon when I worked at the MRC APU in Cambridge in the early nineties. He was a wonderful character - caring, full of life and ideas. He used to join a gang of us for dinner (James Tresilian, Randy Flanagan,  Francoise Mathieu amongst others).  He was always entertaining and kept the conversation alive - with plenty of fun and laughter. I remember him as fairly driven in an off-beat kind of way. I didn't know anything about his successful musical past but it fits the man and his extremely cool persona.

Jon was someone who was intense about his friendships and gave great advice. Some of which I still reflect on today over 20 years later. I certainly appreciated his concern with regards to myself - I was young and fairly unfocused and he took time to help me with that.

When I first knew him his then girlfriend Nilli was living abroad … but my memory is that he talked about her constantly and couldn't wait for her to join him. I remember meeting them together once in the gardens of the APU and he was clearly very happy. I moved on to London and I don't think I caught up with them again. It almost happened once somewhere near Wormwood Scrubs when I gave James Tresilian a lift to visit the two of them… but I think I had pressing child-care duties to return to.  I do remember on that occasion being extremely pleased to hear that they had started a family. He must have been a wonderful and wise father.

I saw Jon on the telly a few years ago… and had that "boy done good" feeling when I saw the fascinating things he was up to. ln fact I was discussing the program with a friend only last week. Her son may be benefiting from some of that research. That was my reason for looking Jon up today and discovering this really devastating news.

Chronic pain is a hidden evil with untold consequences - I speak from experience - my heart goes out to all those touched by this.

Jon's death is without doubt a great loss to the state of human knowledge and the many people that could have benefited from his further work. Though perhaps we should be grateful for the advances he did make in his short  life which are clearly reaping fruit.

My main thoughts are with Nilli and their kids - to whom I extend huge virtual hugs.

All the best Jon - wherever you are...

Lisa xx

26 April 2012

John Burgan

For those of us who knew Jon from his early teens, the past few months have been hard, really hard, trying to reconcile the boy we knew, the man he became and what happened in 2011. It still doesn't make sense that he has gone and probably never will, so here are some fragments, some snapshots of our friend.

Dave Brown's affectionate and highly accurate piece about him (for which thanks, Dave) focuses on the one aspect that we would all agree was so central: Jon's love, no his utter obsession for his music. Our own tastes were deeply influenced by what we had first heard echoing through the rooms of that sprawling, open-plan house at the Lawns. Jon playing the bass, practising with Malcolm, Peter and Rory in Voice, then later in the London Boys. Oh yes, what a lovely poseur he was - white jeans, black leather jacket and that pout in the mirror! And boy could he play guitar, jamming with Weird and Gilly (the latter probably that DJ from Gilberdyke). The gigs - Teardrop Explodes and some seriously dodgy punk bands at the Welly, R&B at the Uni, Johnny Thunders & Magazine at the college in Queen's Park Gardens, nervous that they wouldn't let us in on the door for looking underage.

There was another Jon - playing the cello in the school orchestra; acting in Pinter's "The Dumb Waiter"; impersonating Jon Peel for the audio tapes we would record in Malcolm's bedroom. Studying German and dissecting the NME. Riding to school together on our bikes along Hull Rd, Bricknell Avenue, Chants Ave, Spring time returning home in the pouring rain, he rode into the back of a van and broke his nose. A grimace - but he recovered with plenty TLC at home. 

Remember that look when Jon was pretending to be interested - that face he pulled when he had to suffer a bore at a party? Doodling on his notepad in lessons. Whizzing around on his moped. Drinking barley wine bought from the off-licence on the Green - there's a taste we haven't had for decades.

It's been a revelation to read the tributes here and elsewhere, particularly those from professional colleagues at the height of his brilliance. Like many, we lost touch for quite a while when we were both out of the UK - reconnected again, radio silence and then again an email out of the blue...there is still so much I could say, want to say, but there will be no more messages now.

Jon's family doted on him, and gave him all the love and support upon which he built his life's work and career. Lucy, his devoted younger sister was always there by his side, growing up together in Cottingham and she loved her older brother to bits. I can't think of Jon without thinking of the Drivers there in the background as well. They were part of him, he was part of them. Part of him lives on in his sons.

I can't say any more than this: Jon, wherever you are, peace be with you.

from David Brown

I was at school and university with Jon, and during those intense and exciting years he was one of my closest friends.

We shared an obsession with music, and soul music in particular, spending hours at his parents' house at the Lawns in Cottingham listening to Stax and Motown records, and, of course, Iggy, the Velvets, and David Bowie.  We talked incessantly about artists, labels and songs, and played our latest records.  Jon thought it was hilarious when I failed to recognise "Green Onions" (doh!).

I'm sure we talked about other things; friends, films, TV, the usual college intrigues and romances: but when I think of Jon the first thing I remember is his passion for music.  I picture him playing the bass in his room in college, and getting his kicks "out on the floor" in his brand-new Carnaby Cavern suit.  A couple of times Jon took me to a disco he'd found in Gilberdyke, with a grumpy DJ who had a great collection of soul records that he seemed reluctant to play.  He would sandwich "The Champion" and "I Spy for the FBI"  between the Nolans and the Dooleys, and then return to endless Stars on 45 megamixes.

I have so many other memories: the time we got beaten up in Cottingham; a group of us taking cover as fists and furniture flew at a Zoot and the Roots gig in Scarborough; dancing to C-Bank's "One More Shot" as dawn broke over the Queen's College ball.  I remember Jon's big cheeky grin; he had an easy-going charm and made friends wherever he went.  At a college reunion in 2001 the question I was asked more than any other was if I knew whether Jon was coming.  I regret to say I didn't, and he didn't.

Jon loved his family, was loyal to his friends, and was just a lovely person.  I'm sorry that we lost touch after university, and I am so sad that he is gone 

19 April 2012

from Susan Shaw

I met Jon in my first year at Oxford through our dear mutual friend Andy Matthews.  I had a crush on Jon from the moment I laid eyes on him –  he was unimaginably hip, with his narrow duds, spikey blonde hair, pointy shoes,  and sharp moves and grooves.  I was a shy and dumpy provincial girl overawed by the dreaming spires.  I considered myself far too uncool to be one of Jon’s friends.  What I hadn’t reckoned on though, was Jon’s innate kindness and compassion, his deliciously dry sense of humour, and his sense of fun.  Andy and Jon took me under their wing . Some of the most delirious nights of my night were spent dancing to Motown and Northern Soul with them.  This instilled in me such a deep love of black music that it influenced my choice of career – as I became a documentary film maker and made many films about soul, funk, jazz and hip hop artists.  I feel Jon had a hand in this.  Jon wore his massive intellect lightly; he wasn’t one to show off his own intellectual brilliance, but I wasn’t surprised to learn much later on, how eminent he had become.  He was certainly a star, but he was also a lovely and adorable person; I feel so lucky to have known him. 

16 April 2012

from Simon Thorpe

For me, Jon was without doubt one of the finest scientists the field has
known. His ability to produce volumes of top notch science will surely be
hard for anyone to match. I was devastated to hear that we have lost this
truly remarkable person who I remember with much affection. But I was
particularly touched now that the reports from the inquest into his death
have appeared, which fill me with an even greater sense of sadness. What a

from Andy Matthews

Jon was my best friend.  We met in our first term at Oxford and he was
easily the coolest kid I'd ever encountered.  I was enormously impressed that he'd
had to decide whether to come to Oxford in the first place or stay with his
beloved band, the London Boys.  He had enormous charisma, and the best
record collection you could ever wish to listen to.  We did discos
together, inter-railed round Europe together, studied together (which
mainly consisted of me trying to copy his elegant and well constructed essays),
went on demonstrations together, and played a lot of pool.  He was always
at the very epicentre of the in crowd and he always made sure I was
included in whatever was going on.  I half expected someone so  cool and so
clever to have an unpleasant edge, but the opposite was true.  He was kind,
supportive and generous.  He also had a beautiful relationship with his
lovely family and my thoughts will always be with them.

Our lives developed in parallel and we stayed close throughout.  I saw him
a week before he died and we discussed everything from our wonderful
children, to going to Arsenal together, to the relative merits of Donny
Hathaway and Marvin Gaye.  I knew little of his brilliant career, such was
his modesty - to me he was just my brilliant friend with whom I went to see
Booker T and the MG's.  I miss him terribly, but I am grateful to have had
such a wonderful person play a significant role in my life - and my life is
all the richer for it.  Jon was my guide, my support, my sounding board, my
conscience and above all my dear, dear friend.  He lives on in our
memories, and he is particularly vivid in mine.

17 January 2012

from Angela Sirigu

I just learned what happened to Jon. I feel very sad and I still have trouble believing that I will not see him again. I have lots of wonderful memories with him in London when invited me to give a talk at the ICN. He was an exquisite host. I discovered on that occasion a sharp scientist but also a sweet and attaching men. I met him after several times, we mailed each other. I am going to miss him a lot. I will think of him forever

12 January 2012

from Yasmin Fitzpatrick (nee Anwar)

Jon was part of our social gang at Oxford: I was a Mod Langs undergraduate at Wadham at the same time he was at Queen’s College and I can safely say that we NEVER discussed academic matters. We spent more time arguing about politics, discussing music, gossiping and laughing, drinking and going out clubbing.  Jon was incredibly good looking and impeccably dressed in a kind of retro smart Mod style.  He never demanded to be centre stage but was comfortable making remarks and laughing at much of the excessive foolishness that characterised our down time.  I was incredibly fond of him – well, he was so damn attractive, kind, quietly witty and effortlessly masculine.  I knew nothing about his subsequent stellar academic career and feel incredibly pleased and proud for him.  I am very shocked and sad to know that he is no longer here: I would have loved to catch up with him.

4 January 2012

from Joe Herbert

I was one of those who canvassed for Jon's election to Caius. You only had to talk to him for five minutes to realise what an intelligent and interesting man he was. After he left, we rather lost contact,  though I was aware he was making waves in his field.  So it was that I only learned about his accident after I had emailed him about a possible collaboration. This is a bad time, he told we got discussing his injuries and what might be done about them. Like many of his friends and colleagues, I am saddened by the thought that we might have helped. His bright star has been tragically eclipsed, and science, his family and all who knew him are bereft.  

3 January 2012

from the Academy of Medical Sciences

Jon Drive

from the Times

Professor Jon Driver _ the Times

21 December 2011

from Mark Elliott

Although I have not seen Jon for a very long time I am truly saddened to hear of his passing. I am taken back to 1996 or 1997 when Jon, and some others I see have posted here moved from Cambridge to Birkbeck. At that time I was in the throes of my PhD research in an office overlooking Torrington Square and the year or so that Jon spent at Birkbeck was characterized by a great deal of social and professional activity. The image of Jon I had then, and have kept ever since was of a quiet genius; a brilliant mind tempered with a warm sense of humour, and with the ability to inspire. I also remember he left one of our chin rests on the tube. although what he was doing with it on the tube in the first place remains a mystery. My condolences extend to his family at this sad time.

14 December 2011

from Anjan Chatterjee

I first met Jon at Dartmouth when we were enrolled in what I think was the second of Gazzaniga's Cognitive Neuroscience bootcamps in 1991. We were both studying neglect. At the time, I was struck by his laser like focus at pursuing ideas. A couple of years later we met again at a small meeting in Oxford organized by John Marshall and Peter Halligan. This meeting gave me an opportunity to talk with Jon in more depth. Again, his intelligence and focus was so evident that his academic success came as no surprise. I have profited from his way of framing and addressing scientific problems. This is a great loss for cognitive neuroscience.

13 December 2011

from Martha Farah

I first met Jon in the late 1980's when, like him, I was working in the field of visual cognition.  We were both visiting speakers at UCSD, with talks scheduled on consecutive days with titles that turned out to be something like "Evidence that 'object-centered' neglect is actually spatial" (my talk, on the first day) and "Evidence that neglect is object-centered" (his title, second day).  He arrived after my talk but I was at his and of course the audience was also there for both.

He was as brilliant back then as ever, while also exuding a certain youthful self-confidence, so everyone expected discord.  Instead he engaged with his intellect and not at all with his ego, and we had a fabulous rollicking discussion!  He had the ability to focus on the scientific question and think so incisively and creatively about it without personal negativity. It was that combination of intellectual brilliance and genuine love for the science that made him such a fount of inspiration to us all.

from Stephen Monsell

I first met Jon when he came to be interviewed in Cambridge for a possible PhD place at the MRC-APU (as it then was). Ol Braddick and I sat in on the interview for the university Experimental Psychology Department: we were trying to avoid interviewing the same applicants twice. Faced with this epitome of cool youth,  with dyed blond hair, an earring, the famous leather jacket and, one suspected, a recording contract in his pocket,  my APU colleagues began the interview quite confrontationally: What, they wanted to know, did he propose to contribute to psychological science?  The standard PhD applicant tells you, haltingly, what they have been doing for their undergraduate research project, and says they want to do more of it.  Jon calmly responded that he had a few ideas, and proceeded to sketch, in his quiet incisive way, about five distinct novel well-articulated lines of research, any one of which would have made a great PhD project. I will not say that our colleagues ended up on their knees in postures of supplication, but they were clearly very keen that he should come to the APU. As it turned out he chose to stay in Oxford for his PhD, with Alan Allport: the rest is history.

Eventually, of course, we succeeded in attracting Jon to Cambridge for a lectureship in Experimental Psychology. He was a great colleague, performing his teaching and admin duties with enthusiasm and sanity while continuing to build his remarkable research portfolio, and supervising the first of his PhD students. In the summer of 1998, he and I co-organised an Attention and Performances symposium  (the eighteenth, at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park, on Control of Cognitive Processes), attended also by his new baby  (who appears in the conference photo posted) and his parents, the latter to help look after the former while Jon and Nilli participated in the sessions. Co-writing with Jon the introductory chapter, in which we struggled to capture the current state of play in,  and desirable directions for research on, attentional and intentional control, whilst giving due mention and integrative spin to the 31 contributions  to the edited volume, was among my most agreeable co-authorships.

At a previous Attention and Performance, in Kyoto in 1994, I recall Jon walking with John Duncan around the lake on which the famous Golden Pavilion stands. So immersed were they in discussion of the mysteries of attention that after two circumnavigations they still had not  (they claimed) consciously seen the temple (hard to miss -- see photos of Jon in Kyoto) -- a tribute to the power of attentional selection, whose workings Jon's wonderful experiments and laser-beam intellect did so much to illuminate. 

What a loss – to his scientific community of course,  but how much more to his family.

12 December 2011

from Uta and Chris Frith

We were devastated to learn of Jon's untimely death. He had been our colleague, collaborator and friend since he came to UCL in 1998. He was a lovely man, and a true cognitive psychologist. He retained the old fashioned virtues of a British experimentalist, meticulous design, data analysis and interpretation, but he also wholeheartedly embraced the new technologies of brain imaging and TMS. As a result he improved our work and indeed the work of all his collaborators and colleagues. He was also seriously playful and was equally pleased to talk about bass guitar styles as about attention. His death is a terrible loss to cognitive neuroscience, since, as he said himself in a recent interview, the best was yet to come.

from Andrew Roach

I cannot claim to have known Jon well, but we did go back a long way. He was in the year below me at school. We met again as graduate students at Oxford, when I volunteereed for an experiment he turned out to be running. I will always be grateful to him for organising the soul disco in the upstairs room at the 'Cape of Good Hope'. It really was heaven's disco; pounding 60s and 70s soul both classic and obscure, a dark and sweaty room full of dancers, and a good chance of meeting friends.  Anyone who has done a research degree knows what a lonely and miserable existence it can be. I remember Jon's event as the highlight of the week.

Jon was obviously a marvelous colleague and devoted husband and father. My thoughts are with all who were close to him.

11 December 2011

from Su Watkins

I met Jon while studying for a PhD with Geraint and Nilli.  Jon was the director of the ICN and despite being very busy always seemed to have time to stop and have a chat. He seemed to enjoy talking to everyone about science regardless of how junior they were.  When discussing ideas with Jon I rarely needed to finish a sentence, Jon had already got the idea and usually thought of an experiment to investigate it before I had reached the end.  I was shocked and saddened to hear of his death.  He will be hugely missed. My sympathies to Nilli, their children and his friends and family.

10 December 2011

from Paloma Mari-Beffa

My fondest memory of Jon is a very romantic one, although it happened “by accident”. In August 1996 I was a visiting PhD student in Nilli’s lab when I got involved with George Houghton (now my husband and father of our two sons), while he was a lecturer at UCL. Our relationship during those early days was secret to everyone except to a few strangers without name in Sevilla mia, Soho, where everything started. But to welcome me in a rather more respectable social context, George decided to invite Nilli, Jon and me over for dinner at his flat in Crouch End. We had a few drinks and snacks in the living room before George went to the kitchen to fetch some more food. I followed him promptly with the double intention of displaying good manners and helping myself to some private time with him. As this encounter in the kitchen was reaching its most private point, I opened my eyes to see Jon standing by the door and staring with amusing eyes. He politely retreated to the living room followed by us carrying the food and a sense of embarrassment. Jon and Nilli’s meaningful smiles declared the game over and the start of a lovely evening in the most pleasant atmosphere. They shared with us multiple anecdotes about their beginnings together and I got to see the most sweet and relaxed side of Jon. I remember him with his shoes off reclined on the red settee: His right arm warmly over Nilli’ shoulder, holding a beer with his left hand and smiling with beautiful eyes. It was indeed a great evening to remember; and this is how, accidentally, Jon became part of our own biography as the first person who "knew”. This is the image of Jon that I keep forever: relaxed, friendly and very close to Nilli.

9 December 2011

from James Russell

Two kinds of memory of Jon - musical and familial.  During Jon's time in the Cambridge department Jon and I would occasionally meet up in the evenings to play songs, with 'play' loosely meant in my case.  I would caterwaul and strum some '60s pop while Jon brilliant bass would make it sound like music.  He had a wonderful musical ear: just a snatch of some obscurity by, say, Major Lance or Jay and the Americans and he had the chords down and was teaching me them. 

Second, as her father, I am convinced that Charlotte would have had a distinguished career in visual neuroscience no matter what.  But Jon's faith in her abilities and his natural kindness put her on the fast track.

from Arni Kristjansson

On January 28th this year I found a message containing Jon's typical expressive and direct prose in my inbox. The message said that he had been in a nasty motorbike crash the night before and that he was in hospital with a smashed knee. Jon also said: 
“It looks like i might be here for several weeks undergoing surgery, so if not too late you might want to postpone your trip. Jon”
I received this email, on the eve of a trip to London where the intention was to spend some time at Queen Square planning new experiments on our now ten year old scientific collaboration. We had also laid down plans to go to the Emirates to watch Arsenal vs. Barcelona and we had plans to go to some concerts. I didn´t realize how fateful this accident would be. The word “postpone” in Jon’s message is particularly tough to read, since many of our best-laid plans will now never come to fruition.
Our scientific community has now lost one of it’s most brilliant scientists but I have also lost a good friend and mentor.
There is a lot to be said on Jon’s illustrious scientific career, but Jon and I connected well on a personal level as well as on the scientific one. How our tastes in music matched was uncanny, we could compare notes on obscure 80’s indie bands no-one else had heard of, and on our mutual interest; R&B/soul-music from the 60’s. Our conversations on football took precious time away from our science – it was time well spent. Fly-fishing trips were always on the agenda. To be honest, I think we had an even better connection on the personal level than the scientific one, despite our eight co-publications (and counting).
We shared a similar sense of humor, with a mutual preference for the most morbid irony. But after exchanging anecdotes and jokes on amutual colleague Jon would finish by listing that person’s qualities. Jon always had a good word for everyone.  
A particularly fond memory for me is when Jon visited me in Iceland in the fall of 2010 with his two sons, Shoni and Neil. We had an excellent time going volcano hunting around Eyjafjallaj√∂kull, the Vestman-Islands – Pompei of the North, the Blue Lagoon, and the "Geysir" geothermal area. During the drive we designed three experiments, but nevertheless spent most of the time discussing music, football, the scenery, and trading jokes with his boys in the backseat. An excellent couple of days – all the more valuable to me now. My heart now goes out to the two boys, and Nilli, their mother. 
The sadness of the word “postpone” jumps to mind again. Our planned fly-fishing trips in Iceland; jam sessions; football matches and other good stuff will now not happen. 
I will cherish the memories of our friendship. I will never be able to listen to Teenage Fanclub, The Coral, Dexys Midnight Runners nor records from the Stax and Motown back-catalogues without thinking of him. That is only fitting and is as-it-should-be. I will be happy for the memories, and for every opportunity to remember him by.

8 December 2011

from Steve Nicklas

He was just the sweetest person ever! Love and prayers. 

from Steve Fleming

My enduring memory of Jon was as a first-year PhD student. Having just started at the FIL, I joined the departmental retreat in the hills above Zurich. On our arrival, Jon suggested that a few of us take a walk to the lookout above the hotel. I was unsure whether it was appropriate to join - I had never met Jon before and I felt nervous about being in the presence of someone who's work I had studied as an undergrad! But as we walked he made a point to include me in the conversation, and grilled me about my plans for my first experiment. At the time I was obsessed with the question of whether altering the rewards available for particular perceptual decisions changes perception (phenomenology) or just biases our responses towards the more rewarding option. My idea was to use fMRI to answer this question - if rewards change activity in visual cortex, then we could claim an effect on perception. Jon took the time to point out to me all the potential flaws in this logic and my experimental design, at a speed I found difficult to assimilate. But back at the hotel, feeling slightly deflated and assuming our conversation was over, he made a beeline for me at lunch to say - "just to be clear, I think you should definitely do the experiment. Just make sure you do it correctly!". It was exactly the combination of critique and motivation that I needed.

During my PhD Jon continued to take an interest in my progress, offering to read drafts of papers and asking about the progress of postdoc applications. This was all despite him having no formal supervisory role, and at a time when his heavy workload included the directorship of the ICN. He was truly generous in his advice and support to the younger generation and will be dearly missed.

7 December 2011

from Sara Hall

It is with great sadness that I learned of Jon's untimely death. I first met Jon when we were both undergraduates at the Queen's College Oxford exactly 30 years ago. He was very handsome and charming and we all fell for him, each in our own way. Definitely one of the "in crowd" in a very special way. None of us knew of the bright futures ahead of us then but Jon certainly had the spark of someone special.  I am happy to read on this site how much happiness and inspiration he has brought to the lives of others privileged enough to have known him too. 

from Luis J Fuentes

Jon was a brilliant young scientist that impacted everyone had the chance of meeting him or reading his stunning scientific contribution. In my office, just in from of me, there is a picture showing all participants in the Attention and Performance Symposium XVIII held at Cumberland Lodge in July 1998. Just in the first row Jon and Nilli are sat happily holding their little baby. I cannot believe that guy is not with us anymore, hard to believe and hard to assume. My deepest condolences for his friends and colleagues. But above all for Nilli and her kids, God how to comfort these people…

from Alan Allport

Conversations with Jon - about science or practically anything - were some of the best, the liveliest, the most enriching I have had in all my long life. He was so sharp, so zestfully open-minded, so serious - and yet so playful. It didn’t matter where you happened to be. I remember a fantastic discussion we had on the little Sicilian island of Marettimo, after an A&P meeting, looking down from the mountaintop above the tiny harbour and talking all day about a fantastic variety of things (including even a bit of cognitive psychology). Other, equally warm, zestful conversations happened in the gloomy blacked-out basement of the physiology department in Parma. Wherever you were, he was an absolute delight to be with.

As an undergraduate it was obvious already he was a superstar. But instead of going on immediately to do a PhD, Jon opted instead to spend a year as a research assistant (with Peter McLeod and me), to give himself time to figure out what line of research he really wanted to pursue. This deep humility and thoughtfulness, and deep commitment to ‘getting it right’, and getting to the truth, were the hallmark of everything Jon did. After that year, once launched on a PhD he completed it at lightning speed and with the absolute minimum of supervision from me (just lots of those hugely enjoyable, wide-ranging conversations!). And of course, from then on I just watched him fly.

Now, though I have long since left cognitive psychology and – to my regret - have not been in contact with him recently, his loss feels truly dreadful. But his impact on the whole field of cognitive neuroscience, as well as his vivid presence in the hearts of everyone who knew him, will long live on. 

from Andy Wills

I remember Jon as a young, brilliant, lecturer in Cambridge at the time I was doing my Ph.D. there. His speed of thought and breadth and depth of knowledge were astonishing and left a very deep impression on me. In particular, I remember one chance encounter – 1996 or thereabouts - in the departmental library that ended up with us discussing the various conceptions of perceptual learning in psychophysics versus animal learning. His death is unspeakably sad.

from Charlotte Russell

Very few people genuinely change your life but meeting Jon changed mine. I went for an interview for a summer RA job with him in Cambridge just after I'd finished my finals. As I waited I wondered what this Jon Driver would look like. It took me a (long enough to be embarrassing) moment to realise that the very young man, smiling a funny half smile, who had just come up to me was him.  I didn’t carry on with my plans as they were at that time but worked with him and then came back when he went to London to be his RA and do a Ph.D. He was, as everyone says, extremely clever but not intimidating and never pompous. His company was exciting: sometimes awkward and inspirational in turns.

When I saw him in October his face became so animated when he realised that my son was with me. He said that he was pleased to finally meet him and tried to get a smile out of him - a grumpy, just woken, toddler.

Jon was important to me and it is hard to believe that I won’t meet up with him again. All my thoughts and love are with Nilli, their sons and his family.

6 December 2011

from Roger Keys

I knew Jon through fishing and football. In the former he was most proficient,the latter well he supported the Arsenal. We would often share banter about football but as my team is West Ham I had to grin and bear his teasing. He always gave that little smile when I told him "we were the last team to win at Highbury and the first at the Emirates"   It was only recently we were discussing how we would catch Tench from Senior's Lake in the summer, sadly that will not happen now. Wherever you may now be angling, Tight Lines and Best Fishes Jon, from all at the Redspinner Angling Society

from Elaine Fox

I first met Jon in the early 1990s when I had just moved to the UK and he moved to Cambridge. We had been emailing for a couple of years about selective attention, perceptual grouping and negative priming. He invited me to visit Cambridge and I hopped on a train expecting to meet a distinguished Cambridge Don who, given his already stunning body of work, was bound to be far older than me! Instead, I was confronted by the handsome, young, Jon ultra cool in his T-shirt and leather jacket. Within about 5 minutes he had resolved the problem with a complex pattern of results I had been struggling with for months – really!

Like many, I was blown away by the sheer brilliance and speed of Jon’s mind, made even more salient by just what a nice guy he was. Knowing Jon was a genuine privilege and a wonderful lesson in humility. I met him a couple of months ago quite by accident when walking down a London street. We chatted for a few minutes and he was delighted with his Royal Society Professorship that allowed him the freedom to focus on research and he told me he was beginning to re-visit many of the theoretical issues that had engaged him all those years ago in Cambridge. We will never know what breakthroughs he would have made. Jon was a wonderful inspiration to me, always happy to give advice, and unbelievably generous with his time. I am truly devastated and my thoughts are with my friend and colleague, Nilli, and their two boys whom he loved so much

from Galit Yovel

I was a second year undergraduate student in Shua Tsal’s Attention and Perception course when I first heard about Jon’s work on object-based attention. It was then when I decided to become a vision scientist. These papers were, and still are, so brilliant and inspiring.

from Fabrizio Leo

I had the pleasure and the honour to work with Jon very recently and we were still in touch via email until few weeks ago. I have a lot of memories and thoughts I will keep with me forever. I still have a vivid memory of our first one-to-one meeting. I was really impressed by how young he was considering his enormous scientific production. I felt rather intimidated but he has been really friendly and we even had some coffee in a local cafe. Afterward, I had the chance to admire his deep knowledge of cognitive neuroscience, his stunning ability to analyze and create new experimental designs (which was able to do so quickly!) and his talent for writing. His untimely death is a shock to me and an incalculable loss for science, his family and everyone who had a chance to know him personally.  

5 December 2011

from Jane Raymond

I have two favourite memories of Jon. One is from 20 years ago when Jon was not yet 30.  Kim and I were in Cambridge on sabbatical and Jon came to stay in our house for several weeks when he first moved to Cambridge to take up his first lecturer post at the Department there. It was great fun having him around and during that time he got to know our kids who were only small. Our son was just two and Jon was enchanted by him. There was Jon, the handsome, dashing bachelor, in his leather jacket and ultimate cool, suddenly realising that having a family might be a really great thing. One day in the kitchen, he looked down at our little blue eye toddler and said, with look of complete surprise, "I think I want one of those". And so, his wish came true, twice, and we were so happy for him and Nilli. My second memory is more recent, July 2010 in France at A&P. Sitting outside in the sun, beer in hand, talking about families and the goodness of life (and of course a little science, too). He was a really, really good person and we are so sad for the whole family.

from Pia Rotshtein

I was an undergraduate student when I first heard about John’s work. John was an icon then. So, the meeting with the real man behind the Driver and Baylis paradigm was exciting and humbling experience. John and Ray were both my PhD supervisors, and together they offered the perfect balance of intellectual stimulation, guidance and the freedom to explore. Working with John was very rewarding and inspiring. I learnt a lot from him both as a scientist and a person. John had a brilliant mind and was very quick to think on his feet, quite a challenge for a nervous PhD student... It became even harder when he expressed his original views in his renowned ‘Driverish’ style – rapping and mumbling under his breath.  John used to joke that he developed this style to make him look cleverer. Needless to say that was completely unnecessary; John’s bright thinking and sharp intellect didn’t need any gimmicks or ‘artificial additives’. He will be missed.   

from Anil Seth

I first met Jon in Cambridge in the early 1990s, when he was my tutor during my second-year undergraduate course in Experimental Psychology.   As callow 19 year-olds we were extraordinarily privileged to have the close attention, in groups of two or three, of leading researchers such as Jon.  Sessions with him, discussing attention and neglect, remain among my most vivid memories of the time. I think I even tried to discuss consciousness once, though I'm not sure it went too well.  Looking back, what was so remarkable was the care and consideration with which Jon engaged with our undoubtedly naive ideas.  Whatever we said and wrote, however ignorant, he took us seriously and gently guided us towards a deeper understanding.  He gave me the confidence to continue.  After Cambridge I saw Jon just a couple of times, at conferences, and each time was reminded just what a brilliant man he was.  His passing is a massive loss for neuroscience, but more so of course for his family and friends, whom my thoughts go out to.

from Gabriella Vigliocco

Jon has been a model for me: in his superb intellect, in his passion for research, in his dedication to the field. He has been a wonderful mentor: he was a mentor to me through two promotions, he mentored me when I became a very naive head of department and when I became a parent. For me, he was and will always be the soul of our division. I miss him dearly. My heart is with Nilli and their two boys.

from Jennifer Cook

Around this time last year I was panicking about an upcoming interview and emailed Jon to ask for interview advice. I was overwhelmed to receive a 7 paragraph email (sent at Midnight on a Thursday!) which comprised a step-by-step guide to the interview process: from first impressions through to what to do if you are ‘digging yourself into a hole’. I didn’t really know Jon and had never worked with him, he had nothing to gain from this, it was just a pure act of kindness - for which I am extremely grateful.  May he rest in peace.

from Neir Eshel

Jon advised my Master's thesis in 2007-08.  I have so many happy memories from his lab, but a couple stand out.  My first time meeting Jon, he served me tea and cookies and we chatted for over an hour. I remember leaving his office giddy and calling my parents--“This guy’s the director of the institute, and he served me cookies!” He treated me like I had something to contribute, and for that I’ll always be thankful. 

Fast-forward a year, and I’m sending Jon a draft of a paper to submit for publication. I pat myself on the back for a job well done.  Half an hour later, I get his revisions. They’re so covered with red marks that I can’t see where the margins end and the text begins. For a moment I’m disheartened, then I’m incredibly grateful. To Driverize a paper. Nothing else quite like it.

I feel privileged to have met Jon and to have been the beneficiary of his wisdom and his wit. I’ll miss him very much.