Gary Parker is featured in a question and answer article in the September issue of PNAS. This interview provides a fascinating insight into Gary’s research, and the relationship between nature and mathematics, and a perspective from one of the most innovative Earth-surface process and morphology researchers ever. This QnA also goes along with Gary’s inaugural paper in the same issue entitled ‘The role of saltwater and waves in continental shelf formation with seaward migrating clinoform’. Congratulations Gary!