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J. B. S. Haldane

AKA John Burdon Sanderson Haldane

Born: 5-Nov-1892
Birthplace: Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Died: 1-Dec-1964
Location of death: Bhubaneswar, India
Cause of death: Cancer - Colon
Remains: Other

Gender: Male
Religion: Atheist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Biologist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Haldane's principle

Military service: British Army (Scottish Black Watch, WWI, served in Iraq)

British geneticist and popular science writer J. B. S. Haldane grew up in the lab of his father, renowned physiologist John Scott Haldane. He studied at Oxford and taught at Cambridge, University College London, and the Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta. He contributed to the developing theory of enzyme action, and applied mathematical analysis to the study of mutation rates, population size, reproduction patterns, and other aspects of human physiology. His best known work, The Causes of Evolution, helped establish the concept now known as modern evolutionary synthesis, melding several biological schools of thought into Charles Darwin's widely accepted scientific explanation of evolution.

He is the namesake of Haldane’s principle, inspired by his 1928 paper On Being the Right Size, which posits that since biological systems needed by larger species might be unnecessary in smaller species (for example, thick, weight-bearing skeletons or oxygen-carrying bloodstreams), size can be a determining factor in evolution. In 1935 he developed the first map of specific genes on the human X chromosome. He applied mathematics to plant genetics, studying the variation in color and genetic linkage theory in the Primula sinensis flower. He was the first scientist to explain the evolution of the peppered moth, a species which developed darkened wings as industrial pollution made its natural camouflage, white lichen, appear gray.

Haldane is frequently credited with coining the word "clone", from the Greek klṓn, meaning a twig, in a speech delivered in 1963. Politically, he was active in the Communist Party, editing Daily Worker in the 1940s but resigning from the party in 1950 in protest of Trofim Lysenko's Stalin-embraced artificial science.

His full name was John Burdon Sanderson Haldane, but friends called him "Jack" and he published his work as J. B. S. Haldane. His sister, Naomi Mitchison, was a well-known novelist and poet, and his most famous student was John Maynard Smith. Biographer Elizabeth Sanderson Haldane was his aunt, and British statesman Richard Burdon Haldane was his uncle. Per his instructions, at his death Haldane's body was donated for scientific research.

Father: John Scott Haldane (physiologist, b. 2-May-1860, d. 14-Mar-1936)
Mother: Louisa Kathleen Trotter (b. circa 1869, m. 12-Dec-1891, d. 10-Dec-1961)
Sister: Naomi May Margaret Mitchison (novelist, b. 1-Nov-1897, d. 11-Jan-1999)
Wife: Charlotte Franken Burghes (m. 11-May-1926, div. 1945, d. 16-Mar-1969)
Wife: Helen Spurway (geneticist, b. circa 1916, m. 1946 until his death, d. 15-feb-1978)

    High School: Dragon School, Oxford
    High School: Eton College
    University: MA, New College, Oxford University (1914)
    Scholar: Fellow, New College, Oxford University (1919-22)
    Teacher: Dunn Reader in Biochemistry, Trinity College, Cambridge University (1922-32)
    Professor: Genetics, University of London (1932-37)
    Professor: Genetics, University College London (1937-57)
    Professor: University of California at Berkeley
    Professor: Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta (1957-64)

    Darwin Medal 1952
    LSL Darwin–Wallace Medal 1958
    Daily Worker Editorial Chairman (1940-49)
    Communist Party 1937-50
    Royal Society
    Scottish Ancestry
    Naturalized Indian Citizen 1961
    Asteroid Namesake 36061 Haldane
    Lunar Crater Haldane (1.7°S, 84.1°E, 38 km diameter)

Author of books:
Daedalus (1924, non-fiction)
Animal Biology (1927, non-fiction, with Julian Huxley)
Possible Worlds (1927, non-fiction)
Enzymes (1930, non-fiction)
The Inequality of Man (1932, non-fiction)
The Causes of Evolution (1932, non-fiction)
Science and the Supernatural (1935, correspondence, with Arnold Lunn)
My Friend Mr. Leakey (1937, children's stories)
A.R.P. (Air Raid Precautions) (1938, non-fiction)
The Marxist Philosophy and the Sciences (1938, non-fiction)
Science Advances (1947, non-fiction)
What is Life? (1949, non-fiction)
The Biochemistry of Genetics (1954, non-fiction)
Selected Genetic Papers of J.B.S. Haldane (1990)


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