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J. B. S. Haldane (John Burdon Sanderson Haldane) Biography

(1892–1964), (John Burdon Sanderson Haldane), The Causes of Evolution, Daily Worker

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British geneticist and writer, born in Oxford, educated at New College, Oxford; he was successively professor of genetics and of biometry at University College, London. His The Causes of Evolution (1932) was one of the most influential works on evolutionary theory of its day. During the 1930s he became a Communist and wrote brilliant articles for the Communist paper the Daily Worker, of which he was chairman of the editorial board (19409). The links between science and Marxism were persuasively explored in a series of lectures published as The Marxist Philosophy and the Sciences (1938). He resigned from the Communist Party c.1950 over Lysenko's theories and the course of Soviet genetics. Haldane was widely known as an imaginative popularizer of science, writing Possible Worlds (1927), which speculates on the future, and Animal Biology (1927; with Julian Huxley); Aldous Huxley drew on Haldane's theories in Brave New World. Haldane wrote a witty collection of children's stories, My Friend Mr. Leakey (1937), about a philanthropic magician, and his poem ‘Cancer's a Funny Thing’ is included in Larkin's Oxford Book of Twentieth Century Verse. In 1957 he emigrated to India and was naturalized three years later. Haldane's sister was Naomi Mitchison.

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