Location: The Royal Society, London
Time:4 October 2011, 5.00-6.30pm

Prof. Krishna Dronamraju will give a seminar on the fascinating life and important genetics work of his former research supervisor, JBS Haldane FRS.

Once called the last man alive who knew everything there was to know, John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1892-1964) or “JBS” Haldane’s scientific reputation mainly rests on his extensive mathematical theory of Darwinian evolution which formed the foundation for population genetics. He was a polymath who made significant contributions to genetics, physiology, biochemistry, biometry, cosmology, and other fields, all without a formal qualification in science. Beyond his scientific research, Haldane was a public figure who dominated the media with his frequent pronouncements on subjects ranging from meteorites, A.R.P., and mining disasters, to politics and national economy, among others. He was a skilled and prolific popularizer of science, and clearly one of the most influential British scientists and public figures.

Highlights of his life include his exceptional intellectual precocity from childhood, sensational predictions of genetic manipulation (exploited by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World), on being a “guinea pig” in his dangerous physiological and diving experiments, his extensive contributions to evolutionary biology, chairman of the editorial board of the communist paper the Daily Worker, controversial support of Lysenko and Soviet science, resignation from the Communist Party, and life and death in India. He was noted for conducting courageous and painful physiological experiments upon himself and his associates, for his role as a co-respondent in a sensational divorce and subsequent marriage to the journalist Charlotte Burghes, for his outspoken and controversial support for Soviet science, for his avowed belief that Marxism held the key to solve all social problems, and for his conversion to Hinduism and Indian philosophies during his last years when he lived in India.

The seminar is free and all are welcome to attend, but bookings are required – reserve a place.

See Royal Society event page for further details.