Peter Isdale received his PhD in Marine Science from James Cook University in 1982 and, in 2010, he was honoured with a JCU Outstanding Alumni Award. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) sixteen years ago for “service to marine science through research and as a contributor to the development and commercialisation of biotechnology”. Most recently, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science by JCU for his significant contributions to reef science, and for outstanding leadership in the effective commercialisation of science in Australia. His most important scientific contributions relate to understanding long-term climate records trapped in massive corals and in early computer-based methods of data analysis and visualization. Discovering these thousand year-old diaries of the natural world helped today’s researchers to understand the pace of change, with all of the consequences that it entails.