Category Archives: obituary

The BBC’s Hitchens remembrance

A few days ago I directed you to an hourlong BBC show about the life and work of Christopher Hitchens, who, had he lived, would have been 70 on April 13. If you haven’t yet heard it, I recommend it highly. You can listen to the program by clicking on the third screenshot below (or […]

A biologist says goodbye to a dying chimp

I came across this video in a New York Times review of an upcoming (March 12) book by Frans de Waal, Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves. The notes below, however, are from YouTube, not from the book or the review: Mama, 59 years old and the oldest chimpanzee and […]

It’s Abramek Koplowicz’s birthday

I didn’t know about this until I was told by Kelly Houle, who recently published a lovely art book containing English translations (from Polish) of Abramek Koplowicz’s poems, written in the Lodz Ghetto before he was gassed by the Nazis. Abramek Koplowicz was born on February 18, 1930, and had he lived he’d be 89 […]

NYT writes an obituary for Trevor the Duck

When the male mallard Trevor the Duck landed on the tiny island of Niue, administratively part of New Zealand, I was both thrilled and enchanted. How did he get there? Who knows? And would he survive? Niue has no standing water, and Trevor gravitated towards a small, muddy puddle. But the locals pitched in, feeding […]

Theo died

I’m terribly sad to report that Theo, the beloved cat of readers Laurie and Gethyn, passed away yesterday. Although I never met Theo, who lives with his staff in London, he’s been featured on this site several times, most notably because he drank espresso coffee without cream or sugar (see here).  I hoped to meet […]

G. H. W. Bush “passed”?

Humans have many ways to circumvent the reality and finality of death. Besides all my friends who are eating kale and quinoa to stave off the Reaper as long as possible, there are simple semantic fixes. When I visited Cornwall in 2005, I noticed that many gravestones in the local cemetery preceded the date of […]

Leon Lederman dies at 96, sold Nobel Prize medal to pay for medical care

Here’s a really disturbing tweet (h/t: Matthew): the American dream – selling your NOBEL PRIZE to pay for medical treatment — Laura Elliott (@TinyWriterLaura) October 4, 2018 Leon Lederman was a beloved Chicago colleague who received the 1988 Physics Nobel Prize, along with two others, for work on neutrinos. Later in his life, after […]

John McCain died

This happened faster than I expected. Wasn’t it just two days ago that Senator McCain announced that he was abjuring all further treatment for his brain cancer? But what treatment would they have been giving him when he was so close to death, save morphine? But here’s the new CNN announcement (click on screenshot to […]

Aretha, Queen of Soul, dies

by Grania Aretha Franklin died in Detroit today reportedly from advanced pancreatic cancer. She was 76. The world has lost an irreplaceable voice, although her music will be immortal. People are paying tribute to her life and her work from all over the globe. What a life. What a legacy! So much love, respect and […]

R.J. “Sam” Berry, 1934-2018

by Greg Mayer Robert James ‘Sam’ Berry, Emeritus Professor of Genetics in the Genetics, Evolution and Environment Department at University College London, died on March 29 of this year, following a stroke the previous summer. For decades, Berry had been a major figure in population and ecological genetics.  Announcing his death on the UCL website, […]