Crossing paths with James Crow, the geneticist (1916-2012)

Jim Crow, a pioneer and legend in the field of population genetics, and an influential and widely loved faculty member here at the University of Wisconsin, died last week at the age of 95. John Hawkes has a fantastic profile of him here, while his faculty page at the UW Laboratory of Genetics faculty testifies to his seemingly unending accomplishments and relentless influence as a mentor.

I had the fortune to meet Jim Crow during my first year as a postdoc on campus and remember well listening to him step us through connections between genetics and population health with energy and agility. At one point, I ordered a used copy of Crow’s Notes, which was out of print by then, but am embarrassed to say that I never made it through much of the book. Time to pull it off the shelf today and reflect on his striking and inspiring career as scientist and mentor.


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