Donovan was a physicist (presumably a professor of physics) in London and a friend of Desmond's.
Donovan was criticizing a student's thesis on the topic of unpredictability one day when Desmond ran in, soaking wet; this apparently proved a point Donovan was making to the student.
Desmond told Donovan of his belief that he'd been transported back in time and tried to predict a football game's outcome to prove his claim. Donovan was skeptical, and the prediction failed - Desmond had been thinking of a different game. Donovan discouraged Desmond's apparent fantasies and urged him to instead concentrate on the true inportant things in his life. As a result, Desmond soon went shopping for an engagement ring for Penny. ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")
- The name Donovan is of Irish and Gaelic origin meaning "dark; brown-haired chieftain".
- Folksinger Donovan (Donovan Leitch b. Glasgow, Scotland) had a hit in 1969 with his song "Atlantis", about the mythical island populated by an advanced civilization that vanished suddenly.
- He and Daniel Faraday both worked as physicists in England when they met a time-traveling Desmond.