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Brilliant and friendly

Seymour was brilliant, and his ability to derive sea-ice thickness from satellite altimetry a decade ago stands as one of truly important breakthroughs in our field. His feat confirmed, as I already knew, that there are some colleagues that are and will always be simply better than me, no matter what. And that was all right by me, not least because of the way Seymour related to others – as I found out years later.

The first time we really met was as invitees to the Arctic Symposium on Sea Ice and Climate at Woods Hole in 2008. He surprisingly remembered me from a project meeting several years before, even though we had never talked. At the end of the symposium, several of us had a beer at the only place in town that had not closed for the season.  A month later at the AGU meeting with several thousand people, Seymour greeted me with an outstretched handshake and a smile, again surprising me because we really didn’t know each well beyond that, and there was no professional advantage for him to make an effort to relate to me.

That was telling. And reading the more personal posts here, it is clear that he was the real deal. A great scientist, a great person and, from what others say, a great dad. The last one is the one that gets me most, and where my deepest thoughts are.

Martin Miles