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John Maynard Smith – a celebration of his life and work

* 2 June 2004 *

John Maynard Smith a celebration of his life and work

A memorial tribute to the life and work of the late Professor John Maynard Smith, the renowned evolutionary biologist, is to be held at the University of Sussex.

Leading names in the field of evolutionary biology will be joining family, friends, admirers and colleagues to pay tribute to Professor Maynard Smith at the Meeting House on the University of Sussex campus in Falmer near Brighton on the afternoon of 26 June.

Speakers include five distinguished professors who knew Maynard Smith well and share his passion for evolutionary biology.

Richard Dawkins (University of Oxford) is the author of internationally acclaimed books such as The Selfish Gene. Paul Harvey, one of Maynard Smith's former colleagues at Sussex, is now head of Zoology at the University of Oxford. Bruce Levin (Emory University, Atlanta, USA) shares Maynard Smith's interest in the evolution of bacteria and the control of infectious disease. Alexey Kondrashov, (National Center for Biotechnology Information, Bethesda, USA) is an expert on the evolution of sex, the topic of one of Maynard Smith's most famous books.  Lord May of Oxford, President of the Royal Society, applies his mathematical skills to biological problems, as did Maynard Smith.

Messages of condolence and fond memories have been flooding in from around the world, reflecting the affection Maynard Smith commanded during his lifetime. Obituaries and information on Maynard Smith can also be found on a website set up by his colleagues at the Centre for the Study of Evolution.

Maynard Smith was the founding Dean of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex in 1965. He was remarkable for the breadth of his contributions to biology, ranging from his radical application of game theory to understanding evolution to his clear description of the major transitions in the history of life. Although he officially retired in 1985, Maynard Smith remained active in research until his death on 19 April. His last book, on animal signals, was published in December 2003.

Those wishing to attend the memorial should visit the webpage at or send an email to

* Notes for editors *

For further information, or if you wish to contribute anecdotes and personal recollection of John Maynard Smith's life and work, to be displayed on the day, please go to the CSE website at

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