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Memories of Andy Calder

By Susan Gathercole

Andy Calder (1965–2013)
Andy Calder (1965–2013)
Andy Calder, dearly loved by his family and his many friends and colleagues from all over the world, died unexpectedly on 29 October 2013. Born in Edinburgh in 1965, he was a loving brother to his sisters Kath and Clare and brothers-in-law Gary and Tony, and a devoted uncle to his nieces and nephews.

Andy was known internationally as a leading cognitive neuroscientist. He was a deep thinker, a meticulous experimenter, and an inspiration for those who worked alongside him. His ground-breaking research led to major new insights into vital social abilities, such as how we recognise faces, and how the brain processes and distinguishes between emotions.

After completing a PhD at Durham, Andy joined the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at Cambridge (then the Applied Psychology Unit) in 1993, becoming a programme leader in 2000. In addition to his dedicated team in Cambridge, Andy worked closely with many collaborators, bringing to each project excellence in methods and precision in scientific thinking. This led to new discoveries including the brain systems that underlie unusual social abilities in conduct disorder and autism.

The news of his untimely death is devastating for all that knew him. Not yet 50, Andy had a wonderful future as a scientist still ahead of him. His abilities to answer important fundamental questions using rigorous methods will continue to inspire his many collaborators and the broader field of social neuroscience. A passion for overseas exploration made Andy a great travelling companion and a keen guest in the laboratories of his dear friends and fellow scientists, including Gilli Rhodes and Colin Clifford in Australia.

Andy was wonderful company. He was an entertaining house guest with his family every Christmas, and took a keen interest in all his nieces and nephews Clark, Amy, Ava, Rebecca, Cameron, Tim and Eve as they were growing up. He had a passion for film and theatre, and every summer would make the trip home to take full advantage of the Edinburgh Festival. A gifted pianist and singer, Andy was a key figure in pantomimes and productions in Cambridge. He made many lasting friendships with colleagues, who were delighted by his warmth, lightness of spirit, and wit (see colleagues’ memories).

Andy will be held dearly in the hearts of the many that knew him. He is greatly missed, but his spirit, life and achievements will be celebrated for many years to come.

Susan Gathercole is Unit Director at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. This article originally appeared on The Psychologist.

Andy Calder was a leading social cognitive neuroscientist at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. He was the lead author on Oxford Handbook of Face Perception.

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Image credit: Image courtesy of Susan Gathercole.

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