[visionlist] Death of Michael Corballis

Bart Farell bfarell at gmail.com
Mon Nov 22 13:52:03 -04 2021

Mike Corballis was my thesis advisor. This was at McGill in the 1970’s—an
exciting time in the department. Al Bregman was there, and Dalbir Bindra,
D.O. Hebb, Peter Milner, Brenda Milner, Ron Melzack, Sam Rabinowitz, Tony
Marley and more. Because of his cleverness, humor, knowledge and intuition,
Mike stood out. His thinking was unique. He was not only right about most
things, but he was right for deep reasons, yet his thinking wasn’t
laboured. I came to expect the unexpected in his ideas, which I vaguely
associated with left-handedness (one of the many topics he wrote about).
This association was so strong that I actually remembered him as
left-handed, even though throughout all the hours I spent with him, all
physical evidence was consistent with the opposite. I learned much from
him, yet it was only after I had finished grad school did I learn that his
philosophy regarding advising was, ‘It’s your thesis, you do it!’. Sure
enough, looking back, it was clear he motivated by offering encouragement
and support, questions instead of answers. This continued long after he
moved back to New Zealand. I’m indebted to him.

Bart Farell
Syracuse University

On Mon, Nov 22, 2021 at 12:05 PM Robert P. O'Shea <
robertposhea.uni.leipzig at gmail.com> wrote:

> It is with great sadness that I report the death of Auckland University’s
> Emeritus Professor Michael Corballis on 13 November after a short illness.
> His more than 450 research outputs, including 13 books, covered a great
> breadth of research, including his discoveries in mental rotation, visual
> imagery in split-brain people, handedness, laterality, development, music,
> visual memory, and statistics. Mike was also a dedicated theoretician,
> contributing influential ideas to areas including evolution of language,
> laterality, consciousness, and mind-wandering. He had a h-index of 77. Mike
> left at least 13 academic children and 49 academic grandchildren. He also
> left two sons, one who followed the family business as a cognitive
> neuroscientist, the other as a novelist and academic.
> (For details of Mike’s education, career, prizes, honours, and research
> see his Wikipedia biography or his official website from the External links
> section of that article.)
> I send condolences to Mike’s extended family and to all who were touched
> by his kindness, generosity, brilliance, guidance, erudition, and sense of
> humour. It is hard for me to imagine an academic world without his
> stimulating presence. I miss him.
> If you have any comments or any stories to tell of your experiences with
> Mike, please reply-all to this message and I will send them to his family.
> Sadly,
> Robert.
> Robert P. O’Shea
> Guest Scientist, Institute of Psychology, Leipzig University
> e-mail: robertposhea.uni.leipzig at gmail.com
> Web: https://sites.google.com/site/oshearobertp/
> Blog: http://robertposhea.blogspot.com.au/
> Pronouns: he/him/his
> The content of this e-mail is intended for the addressee only and may not
> be sent to a third party without my written permission.
> --------------------------------
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