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

4 December 2011

from Sabine Kastner

I had a difficult time to put my thoughts and feelings into words, perhaps as everybody else.  My first thoughts and love go to Nilli and the boys – Jon’s love for his family will stay with them forever, and as difficult as these days are and will always be in their memory, Jon’s love for them will stay and transcend the enormous tragedy of his death.  To tell you an anecdote on how much Jon cared about his family:  I tried to get Jon to visit Princeton for many years, but he would always decline telling me that his boys were too young, and he didn’t want to leave them and Nilli for long.  This was not a bad excuse (Jon loved to discuss science) – he simply meant it.  What a sweet man! 

I knew Jon as a very (I mean: VERY) valued colleague, from one or two visits to London, and through hundreds of e-mails over the years. Jon’s work had an important impact on me early on.  He had an amazing ability to design simple and straightforward experiments that would reveal incisive and conclusive results to address the most significant problems in cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience.  It sounds easy, but how can one do it?  It’s ART.  Jon’s ART.  Generations of students have learnt and will continue learning from it.

Jon was never egotistic about his art, he generously supported colleagues in his field.  On one occasion, I turned to Jon quite desperately on a study that we had been done having subjects attend to a checkerboard stimulus (and scan their brains).  No one got it – the field turned away and thought that we were undermining attention research with silly, simplified designs.  Jon got it, and he started to campaign for the study and for me.  Eventually, the checkerboards were acceptable and have been used since.  And my early career flourished – thanks to Jon.

Jon and I had a favorite question over the years that we would get to discuss consistently though somewhat infrequently.  But all these discussions moved our questioning a little bit forward.  The question was “Is there really something like top-down?”  I asked this question in an e-mail to Jon about 6-7 years ago after giving a lecture in London and debating all kind of attention issues with Jon over two dinners and some beer.  Jon answered something like “what else should there be? Let’s talk more.”  We did, and we had many inspiring ideas, but never came to a conclusion.  This will be the un-answered question that I’ll have to carry on with – without Jon.  And there will be no brilliant answer, because there can’t be – without Jon.  I’ll try hard – I’ll miss your wonderful mind.  And I am so thankful that I knew you.