Katherine Esau (3 April 1898 – 4 June 1997) was a German-American botanist who received the National Medal of Science for her work on plant anatomy.
Esau was born in Yekaterinoslav, Russian Empire (now Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) to a family of Mennonites of German descent. After the Revolution her family moved to Germany, and then to California, where she achieved her doctorate in 1931. She moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1963, and worked there until 1992. She was the sixth woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1957, and in 1989, President George Bush awarded Dr. Esau the National Medal of Science.
Esau was a pioneering plant anatomist—perhaps the greatest plant anatomist of the 20th century. Her books Plant Anatomy and Anatomy of Seed Plants have been key plant structural biology texts for four decades.
Dr. Esau was a gifted lecturer and author as well as a brilliant scientist. A kind and modest person, she never married and led a life full of scientific achievements, which inspires female scientists all over the world. The Katherine Esau Award is awarded to the graduate student who presents the best paper in structural and developmental biology at the annual meeting of the Botanical Society of America.
Many of Esau's publications are housed and available for loan from the Cornelius Herman Muller library at the University of California, Santa Barbara's Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration.
Esau died on 4 June 1997 in Santa Barbara, California, USA.
- ^ "Dr. Esau's family is Mennonite. Dr. Esau's great-grandfather Aron Esau immigrated to the Ukraine In 1804 from Prussia." Evert, Ray F. (October 1985) "Katherine Esau: address given by President-Elect Ray F. Evert, University of Wisconsin" Plant Science Bulletin 31(5):
- ^ National Science Foundation - The President's National Medal of Science
- New York Times obituary from June 18, 1997
- Esau, Katherine, Anatomy Of Seed Plants, 2nd Ed, John Wiley & Sons, Inc (1977), ISBN 0-471-24520-8
- Evert, Ray F., Eichhorn, Susan E., Esau's Plant Anatomy: Meristems, Cells, and Tissues of the Plant Body: Their Structure, Function, and Development, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, (eBook 2006), ISBN 0-470-04737-2
External links