Brian Goodwin

My uncle Brian Goodwin died yesterday. He had been ill for sometime. He fell from his bike last week while cycling to work at Schumacher College in England, where he was a professor. He was not able to recover from surgery following his accident.

Brian was the only truly brilliant and wise person I’ve ever known well. Many people refer to others as ‘bright’ or ‘so intelligent’; the overuse of such superlatives is immediately obvious when you meet someone of the caliber of Brian.

Beyond being brilliant he was also wise; kind and generous with his affection while also remaining gently detached from and unperturbed by the difficulties of life. I don’t know if  he was a discrete Buddhist or Daoist, but he was the most calm and clear person I’ve ever met who was not by profession a meditation teacher.

He did all sorts of fabulous things, inventing complexity theory with Stewart Kauffman, irritating the combative and inquisitorial philosopher Daniel Dennett and cooly calling out British public intellectual Richard Dawkins for what he thought was ‘science lite’. He taught me about Goethe, hermeneutics and what I can only call ‘participatory rigour’ in scientific research: really look, really feel, remember to start from scratch.

I am so very honoured and fortunate to have known so great and good a person.


~ by Daniel Mroz on July 16, 2009.

4 Responses to “Brian Goodwin”

  1. I am interested to read your comments.
    How were you related to Brian because I am one of his daughters?

  2. Hello Esther,

    I am very sorry for your loss; I think your father was a very great man. Brian was my uncle by marriage. His brother, Ken Goodwin, married my mother’s sister, the late Mary Goodwin. I’m re-reading his ‘How the Leopard Changed Its Spots’ in memory of him.

    If you are ever in Ottawa, Canada, please do get in touch, it would be lovely to meet you.


  3. Your uncle was a good scientist whose work I admire greatly.

  4. Thank you Joseph.

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