Mike Lesser (1943-2015)

(Fergus Murray, 2023)

A painting of Mike rolling up.
Portrait of Mike Lesser by Nicola Lane / 1975-1976 / oil & egg tempera on linen / in the permanent collection of  The People’s History Museum, Manchester.
Photograph by Andrew Jackson

Mike Lesser was a mathematician and political activist who worked with Dinah Murray and Wenn Lawson to develop the theory of Monotropism. He brought expertise in dynamical systems to bear on the problem of modelling minds, and co-authored the landmark 2005 paper Attention, monotropism and the diagnostic criteria for autism, among others. He also co-founded Autism & Computing with Dinah. He was almost certainly autistic himself, but was never formally assessed; he was undoubtedly monotropic.

Mike led a fascinating life. He was jailed at the age of 16 for his activism with the anti-nuclear, anti-war group, the Committee of 100. A few years later, in 1963, he was one of the “Spies for Peace” who broke into secret government offices. He was involved in the radical publication International Times in the 1960s, and resurrected it in the 2000s, creating an archive of the original magazines and eventually resuming its publication.

He died on this day, the 1st of July, in 2015, following a diagnosis of terminal cancer.

Read more about his life:

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