Remembering Ilkka Hanski

(1953-2016)

Last week marked one of the saddest moments of my so far career as I learned that my previous lab director, mentor and a friend Prof Ilkka Hanski had passed away. Ilkka was the director of the Metapopulation Research Centre (MRC), a Finnish Center of Excellence, where I had the privilege of doing both my MSci and PhD. In addition to being an amazing, multi-awarded scientist, Ilkka was a much loved group leader.

Ilkka_telling_jokes
Happy memories. Ilkka delivering his little personalized present to me in the celebration of my PhD defense. (Yep, it’s pretty formal in Finland). Photo: Evgeniy Meyke.

Together with my great colleagues here at QAECO we wrote a little tribute to Ilkka. I feel that so many more great things could have been said of him, but I hope we managed to pay homage to some of his many achievements.

A loss of a loved one is always a tremendously sad moment and my thoughts are with Ilkka’s family and friends back in Helsinki. In the past week I have talked to some of my old colleagues from MRC, many of who now live around the world, sharing memories of Ilkka and the wonderful time we had with him. It warms my heart that not only Ilkka’s brilliant work but also his amazing working philosophy is being carried forward by the many new generations of wonderful researchers he trained, directly or indirectly, during his career.

Goodbye Ilkka. And thank you.