Godfrey Hewitt

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Godfrey M Hewitt
Professor Godfrey M Hewitt
Professor Godfrey Hewitt (2001)
Born(1940-01-10)10 January 1940
Worcester, England, U.K
Died18 February 2013(2013-02-18) (aged 73)
Cambridge, England, U.K
Alma materUniversity of Birmingham
University of California, Davis
Known forInfluential work in evolutionary genetics, training and acting as a mentor to many academics
AwardsDarwin–Wallace Medal (2013)
Scientific career
FieldsGenetics, Evolutionary Biology, Phylogeography, Hybridization, Speciation
InstitutionsUniversity of East Anglia
Doctoral advisorKenneth Mather, John Jinks, and Bernard John
Doctoral studentsNick Barton[1]
Richard Nichols[2]
Michael Ritchie[3]

Godfrey Matthew Hewitt (10 January 1940 – 18 February 2013) was a British professor and evolutionary geneticist at the University of East Anglia who was very influential in the development of the fields of molecular ecology, phylogeography, speciation and hybridisation. [4]

Academic career[edit]

Hewitt was born in Worcester UK in 1940 and attended The King's School there. He took his undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham and stayed to complete a PhD with advisors Kenneth Mather, John Jinks, and Bernard John. He subsequently gained a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the University of California, Davis in 1965–1966. On his return he took up a position at the newly established University of East Anglia, and he was promoted to Professor in 1988. He worked in the School of Biological Sciences until his retirement in 2005, and subsequently maintained a very substantial scientific output as Emeritus Professor.


At the time of his death Hewitt had 250 peer reviewed academic publications and these had been cited by approximately ten thousand other articles according to Web of Knowledge. His most highly cited publications are in the area of phylogeography[5][6] and hybrid zones.[7][8] In particular Hewitt was influential in understanding the diversity of European biota in the context of glacial cycles.[9][10]

Awards and achievements[edit]

Hewitt served as president of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology from 1999 to 2001. He was awarded the 2005 Molecular Ecology Prize,[11] and he received a Lifetime Achievement Award for creative mentoring in science (2006) from Nature magazine.[12] This achievement is reflected in the large number of students and postdocs who have established their own academic careers.[13]

Hewitt had strong links with many international organisations; he was awarded Doctor "Honoris Causa" by the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in 2008; appointed as honorary professor at the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing in 2000; was a visiting professor at La Sapienza, University of Rome 1 (1998); Royal Society Visiting Fellow, University of Hawaii (1979); visiting fellow at the Australian National University, Canberra (1973–1974); Royal Society Visiting Fellow at the Gulbenkian Institute, Portugal (1971).


  1. ^ "Curriculum Vitae – Nicholas Hamilton Barton" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 December 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Nichols Lab". Queen Mary University of London. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  3. ^ Ritchie MG, Butlin RK (2013). Godfrey M. Hewitt (1940-2013), President of ESEB 1999-2001. J Evol Biol 26: 691–692.
  4. ^ Butlin, R.; Rieseberg, L.; Smith., H. (2006). "Godfrey Hewitt - Recipient of 2005 Molecular Ecology Prize". Molecular Ecology. 15 (2): 301. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2006.02899.x.
  5. ^ Hewitt, G. M. (1996). "Some genetic consequences of ice ages, and their role in divergence and speciation". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 58 (3): 247–276. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.1996.tb01434.x. S2CID 86579616.
  6. ^ Hewitt, G. M. (1999). "Post-glacial re-colonization of European biota". Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 68 (1–2): 87–112. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.1999.tb01160.x.
  7. ^ Barton, N. (1985). "Analysis of Hybrid Zones". Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. 16: 113–148. doi:10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.16.1.113.
  8. ^ Barton, N. H.; Hewitt, G. M. (1989). "Adaptation, speciation and hybrid zones". Nature. 341 (6242): 497–503. Bibcode:1989Natur.341..497B. doi:10.1038/341497a0. PMID 2677747. S2CID 4360057.
  9. ^ Hewitt, G. M. (2004). "Genetic consequences of climatic oscillations in the Quaternary". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 359 (1442): 183–195. doi:10.1098/rstb.2003.1388. PMC 1693318. PMID 15101575.
  10. ^ Hewitt, G. (2000). "The genetic legacy of the Quaternary ice ages". Nature. 405 (6789): 907–913. Bibcode:2000Natur.405..907H. doi:10.1038/35016000. PMID 10879524. S2CID 4318120.
  11. ^ Butlin, R.; Rieseberg, L.; Smith., H. (2006). "Godfrey Hewitt - Recipient of 2005 Molecular Ecology Prize". Molecular Ecology. 15 (2): 301. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2006.02899.x.
  12. ^ Dennis, C.; Wright, J. (2006). "Model Mentors". Nature. 444 (7121): 966–968. doi:10.1038/nj7121-966a. PMID 17203554. S2CID 5316736.
  13. ^ "Academic Tree: Godfrey Hewitt".