Irving Geis

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Irving Geis
Born(1908-10-18)October 18, 1908
DiedJuly 22, 1997(1997-07-22) (aged 88)
Alma materGeorgia Institute of Technology
University of Pennsylvania
University of South Carolina
Known forScientific illustration

Irving Geis (October 18, 1908 – July 22, 1997) was an American artist who worked closely with biologists. Geis's hand-drawn work depicts many structures of biological macromolecules, such as DNA and proteins, including the first crystal structure of sperm whale myoglobin.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Geis was born in New York City, and lived in Anderson, South Carolina for a time. He studied architecture at Georgia Tech from 1925 to 1927, and went on to get a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania in 1929.[1][2] From there he attended the University of South Carolina from 1932 to 1933, graduating with a degree in design and painting in the midst of the great depression.[1]


Geis served as a coauthor and illustrator of many biochemical books that were written by Albert Lehninger and Richard E. Dickerson, as well as the book How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff.[3] He was a frequent contributor to Scientific American.[2] In addition to his technical illustrations, Geis created the prototype Charley McCarthy puppet for puppeteer Edgar Bergen.


  1. ^ a b c Dickerson, R. E. (1997). "Irving Geis, Molecular artist, 1908-1997". Protein Science. 6 (11): 2483–2484. doi:10.1002/pro.5560061126. PMC 2143602.
  2. ^ a b "Artist Irving Geis". Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering & Bioscience. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2011.
  3. ^ "HHMI Purchases Geis Archives". Howard Hughes Medical Institute. October 25, 2000. Retrieved July 10, 2011.

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