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T. G. Dobzhansky

AKA Feodosy Grigorevich Dobrzhanskii

Born: 25-Jan-1900
Birthplace: Nemirov, Ukraine
Died: 18-Dec-1975
Location of death: Davis, CA
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Cremated (ashes scattered in California's wilderness)

Gender: Male
Religion: Russian Orthodox
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Genetics and the Origin of Species

Theodosius Grygorovych Dobzhansky was among the most influential geneticists of the 20th century. As a child in Russia he collected bugs, and in his early teens he was enthralled by Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species. His studies of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) drew international attention, and in 1927 he came to America. Dobzhansky defined the evolution of new species in biological terms, showing that two separated groups of a particular species became two distinct species at the point where they can no longer produce fertile offspring -- an accidental discovery, as such a split took place in his own laboratory. His 1935 book Genetics and the Origin of Species brought together Gregor Mendel's genetics and Darwin's theory of natural selection, and formed the basis for "modern synthesis" in evolutionary science. As one of the world's most famous geneticists, he spoke out against eugenics and dismissed as silly any suggestion that genetics could justify racial bigotry. His famous 1973 essay titled "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution" argued eloquently that theistic creation and evolution are not necessarily at odds.

Father: Grigory Dobzhansky (teacher, d. 1918)
Mother: Sophia Voinarska Dobzhanskaya (d. 1920)
Wife: Natalia Sivertzev Dobzhansky ("Natasha", geneticist, m. 8-Aug-1924, d. 1969)
Daughter: Sophie Dobzhansky Coe (food historian, b. 1933, d. 1993)

    University: BS Biology, University of Kiev (1921)
    Teacher: Zoology, University of Kiev (1921-24)
    Teacher: Zoology, University of Leningrad (1924-27)
    Scholar: Genetics, Columbia University (1927-29)
    Teacher: Genetics, California Institute of Technology (1926-36)
    Professor: Genetics, California Institute of Technology (1936-40)
    Professor: Zoology, Columbia University (1940-62)
    Professor: Zoology, Rockefeller University (1962-70)
    Professor: Zoology, University of California at Davis (1970-75)

    Benjamin Franklin Medal 1973 (by the Franklin Institute)
    National Medal of Science 1964
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Philosophical Society
    National Academy of Sciences 1943
    Royal Society
    Naturalized US Citizen 1937
    Russian Ancestry
    Ukrainian Ancestry

Author of books:
Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937)
Heredity, Race, and Society (1946)
Principles of Genetics (1950)
Evolution, Genetics, and Man (1955)
The Biological Basis of Human Freedom (1956, with Bruce Wallace)
Radiation, Genes, and Man (1959)
Mankind Evolving (1962)
Heredity and the Nature of Man (1964)
The Biology of Ultimate Concern (1967)
Genetics of the Evolutionary Process (1970)
Genetic Diversity and Human Equality (1973)
Evolutionary Biology (1967, seven volumes, with Max Hecht and William Steere)
The Roving Naturalist: Travel Letters of Theodosius Dobzhansky (1980)
Dobehansky's Genetics of Natural Populations (1981)
Human Culture (1983, with Ernst Boesiger)


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