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James F. Crow, 1916-2012
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Sad news. John Hawks passes along that James F. Crow has died. Further mention from the National Center For Science Education. A little over 5 years ago I sent Crow an email with only minimal expectation of response, asking about an interview. He responded in less than 24 hours! I think it says a lot about the man that he would respond to sincere questions out of the blue from basically a nobody. Here is his Wikipedia entry. And remember that Genetics has commissioned a series of retrospective essays in Crow’s honor.

(Republished from Discover/GNXP by permission of author or representative)
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  1. He didn’t quite make the elusive Centenary Club like Ernst Mayr, but 96 is an impressive run (Sewall Wright almost made it as well, reaching his 99th birthday). Both men stayed really sharp too. The previous 10 years has seen the last of the Grand Old Men of evolution.

  2. I did get the chance to meet him as an undergrad about a decade ago. I’d describe him as Grandfatherly in all the best ways. Unfortunately, at that time I was not familiar with his contributions, so I did not make the best use of my chance to meet him.

  3. Back in 2005 I was flying out of the Milwaukee airport and I saw this older gentleman who I thought might be James Crow. (In a happy coincidence, days before I had seen a picture of him in a textbook or blog post, I can’t remember) When the plane landed and I was in baggage claim, I somehow gathered the courage to walk up to him ask if indeed he was James F. Crow. He smiled and said yes he was, and I briefly introduced myself. I always enjoyed his Perspectives pieces in the journal Genetics, but always regretted not have been able to seen him give a talk.

  4. R.I.P. A great geneticist and a great thinker. He will be missed.

  5. ***Both men stayed really sharp too.***

    Indeed, here Steve Hsu discusses a 2010 paper by Crow.

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