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Stephen Jay Gould Biography

18 November, 2019

Full Name: Stephen Jay Gould

Born: September 10, 1941, Queens, Borough of New York.

Death: May 20, 2002, age 60.

Stephen Jay Gould (September 10, 1941 – May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, historian of science, and one of the most influential and widely read scientific broadcasters of his generation.

Gould spent most of his teaching career at Harvard University and worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In the last years of his life, he taught biology and evolution at New York University, near his home in SoHo.  

He has participated in various civil rights movements and has often campaigned for social justice. At the University of Leeds, as a visiting student, he organized weekly demonstrations against a ballroom in the city of Bradford that refused to admit blacks. He continued these protests until this policy was revoked. Throughout his life and in his writings, he denounced cultural oppression in all its forms, especially what he considered a pseudoscience used in the service of racism and sexism.  

In July 1982, he was diagnosed with a fatal form of cancer that affects the lining of the abdomen (mesothelioma). Start an experimental treatment combining radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy. During the treatment and to relieve the nausea, he smoked marijuana, as a defender of this substance in the treatment of cancer. He managed to recover completely.

He died on May 20, 2002 following a metastasis of lung cancer (which had nothing to do with the previous disease) that had spread to the brain. He was accompanied by his wife Rhonda and his mother Eleanor.  

Awards include the Darwin-Wallace Medal from the Linnean Society of London (2008), the Paleontological Society Medal (2002) and the Charles Schuchert Award (1975).

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