Jack Cohen (scientist)

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Jack Cohen, FIBiol (born 19 September 1933 in Norwich[1]) is a British reproductive biologist also known for his popular science books and involvement with science fiction.

Life[edit]

Cohen was born 19 September 1933 in Norwich, but grew up in Stoke Newington.[2] His father was killed at the end of the Second World War. His grandfather was a rabbi and he himself was an observant Jew, but later became an atheist. Nevertheless he continued to attend the synagogue for cultural reasons.[2] He has been married three times, and has six children.[2]

Academic career[edit]

He studied at University College, Hull obtaining a BSc (external degree of the University of London) in 1954. He obtained his PhD in Zoology at the same institution, (by then Hull University) in 1957. He went to the University of Birmingham for post-doctoral work, and was appointed Lecturer in the Department of Zoology and Comparative Physiology in 1959. He worked for a year at Harvard Medical School then returned to Birmingham as a Senior Lecturer in 1968, a position he held until 1987. His former students include Sir Paul Nurse winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Medicine, and Dr Arthur Jones, a proponent of intelligent design. In 1974 the University of Birmingham awarded him a DSc for his work.

During 1987 to 1989 he was Senior Embryological Advisor and Manager of Laboratories at the IVF/Infertility Clinic of a London private hospital. During 1995 to 1996 he was Visiting Professor at the Weizmann Institute, Israel. From 1996 to 2000 he was a consultant at the University of Warwick jointly to the Ecosystems Unit of the Biology Dept and the Mathematics Institute. He is currently an Honorary Professor at the Mathematics Institute of the University of Warwick and a Visiting Professor at Durham Business School.

He has published in prestigious journals such as Nature and written textbooks such as Living Embryos - an Introduction to the Study of Animal Development (1967) and Reproduction (1977). His theory of sperm redundancy[3] has been important in studies of fertility and treatment of infertility. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Biology.

Other activities[edit]

Cohen has worked as a consultant for science fiction television shows and science fiction novels regarding the creation of plausible aliens. The writers who have acknowledged his assistance include Anne McCaffrey for the Dragonriders of Pern; Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes for their Legacy of Heorot; James White of Sector General fame;[4]David Gerrold for the Chtorr ecology; and Terry Pratchett for several works.

Cohen and fellow University of Warwick researcher Ian Stewart, a mathematician, collaborated with Terry Pratchett to write four Science of Discworld books, which accompany his Discworld series. Pratchett made them both "Honorary Wizards of the Unseen University" at the same 1999 ceremony where the University of Warwick gave Pratchett an honorary degree. Anne McCaffrey dedicated All the Weyrs of Pern (1991) to Jack and Judy Cohen and credited Jack with making fact of her fiction.

Cohen and Stewart have also co-authored books on epistemology.

Jack Cohen is a member of the high IQ society Mensa.[5] He was one of the small group of British Mensans who persuaded science fiction author Isaac Asimov to visit the United Kingdom in June 1974.[1]

He has a long standing interest in the design and natural balance of (particularly manmade) lake ecosystems, having designed new filtration systems but also led in reinstating Victorian designed systems at various locations around the UK.

In 2009, he became a patron of the anti-circumcision charity NORM-UK.[6]

His hobbies, according to the author profiles in his books, include boomerang-throwing and keeping strange animals.

Books[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jack Cohen shorter CV". Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  2. ^ a b c The Jewish Chronicle 6 July 2005 "Not only connections"
  3. ^ J. Cohen Nature 215, 862 - 863 (1967)
  4. ^ An interview with Dr. Jack Cohen Astrobiology: The Living Universe
  5. ^ Mensa Frequently Asked Questions
  6. ^ "NORM-UK welcomes Professor Jack Cohen". NORM-UK. 2009-09-14. Retrieved 2009-09-14. 

External links[edit]