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J.B.S. Haldane

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J.B.S. Haldane
J.B.S. Haldane
Born(1892-11-05)5 November 1892
Died1 December 1964(1964-12-01) (aged 72)
NationalityBritish (until 1961)
Alma materUniversity of Oxford
Known forPopulation genetics
AwardsDarwin Medal (1952)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
University of California, Berkeley
University College London
Indian Statistical Institute Calcutta
Doctoral advisorFrederick Gowland Hopkins
Doctoral studentsJohn Maynard Smith

John Burdon Sanderson Haldane FRS (3 November 1892 – 1 December 1964), known as Jack (but who used 'J.B.S.' in his printed works), was a British geneticist and evolutionary biologist who emigrated to India towards the end of his life. He was one of the founders (along with Ronald Fisher and Sewall Wright) of population genetics.

Jack Haldane was a communist, atheist and a writer of popular science books, and articles for the Daily Worker. His major professional work was his contribution of mathematical papers on the theory of evolution, which assisted the modern evolutionary synthesis.

Career[change | change source]

Between 1919 and 1922 he was a Fellow of New College, Oxford University, then moved to Cambridge University, where he accepted a Readership in Biochemistry at Trinity College and taught there until 1932. During his nine years at Cambridge, Haldane worked on enzymes and genetics, particularly the mathematical side of genetics. Haldane wrote many popular essays on science that were eventually collected and published in 1927 in a volume entitled Possible Worlds.

He then accepted a position as Professor of Genetics and moved to University College London where he spent most of his academic career. Four years later he became the first Weldon Professor of Biometry at University College London.[1]

Haldane's move to India, initially to the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) was influenced by a number of factors. Officially he stated that his chief political reason was in response to the Suez Crisis. He wrote: "Finally, I am going to India because I consider that recent acts of the British Government have been violations of international law."

His interest in India was also because of his interest in biological research, belief that the warm climate would do him good and that India offered him freedom and shared socialist dreams.[2] At the ISI, he headed the biometry unit and spent time researching a range of topics and guiding other researchers around him.

References[change | change source]

  1. Clark, Ronald 1968. JBS: The life and work of J.B.S. Haldane. ISBN 0-340-04444-6
  2. Krishna R. Dronamraju (1987). "On some aspects of the life and work of John Burdon Sanderson Haldane F.R.S. in India". Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London. 41 (2): 211–237. doi:10.1098/rsnr.1987.0006. JSTOR 531546. PMID 11622022. S2CID 7505599.
  • Haldane J.B.S. 1932. The causes of evolution.