We lost a friend

krotoThere is some very sad news from over the weekend. Sir Harry Kroto, Nobel Prize winning chemist teaching at Florida State University, passed away Saturday. He was a great friend to us here at Florida Citizens for Science. During the big fight over evolution in the state standards back in 2008, Kroto personally helped in many different ways. It was an honor to work with him. He’ll be missed.

From the National Center for Science Education’s post on his death:

Kroto was enthusiastic about evolution, writing, in a post on his website, “Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is supported by an avalanche of synergistic cross-disciplinary evidence from almost every branch of the sciences: Paleontology, geology, biology, genetics, chemistry, physics etc.” And he was correspondingly concerned about creationist assaults on the teaching of evolution, telling a New Zealand newspaper that people who insert creationism into the science curriculum “really p… me off” (bowdlerism in original). His concern was not expressed only to the media. In 2008, for example, he publicly decried legislative efforts to undermine evolution education in his adopted home of Florida, as the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (April 15, 2008) reported.

He had no problem speaking his mind about the evolution issue. He wrote an op-ed column for the St. Augustine Record in 2008 taking Florida legislators to task for trying to meddle in the state science standards debate: Evolution is a ‘Theory’ in Name Only.

It is disgracefully unethical for individuals who rail against the teaching of evolution to young people as a proven “fact” to accept, either for themselves or their families, the humanitarian benefits accruing from medical scientific research underpinned by the theory. Evolution is the backbone of biology. Many medical treatments including most drugs could not have been developed if previous generations of young biology and medical students had not been taught evolutionary concepts.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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One Response to We lost a friend

  1. David Campbell says:

    Dr. Kroto had a gift for explaining scientific concepts. The first time I saw him was at a Darwin Day event in Tallahassee. I wandered into a carpeted meeting room and there was Dr. Kroto, on the floor on his knees, surrounded by elementary age school children. He was teaching them how to make Bucky balls out of molecular model kits and everybody in that room was having fun. The children didn’t care (if they even knew) that they were learning some pretty cool chemistry from a Nobel Laureate. I don’t think the Nobel Laureate was viewing the experience as a way of expressing his inner five year old. What this science teacher saw was a man who still had his childlike Sense of Wonder (Rachel Carson’s words) passing on some of that enthusiasm and curiosity to a group of children.
    I applaud and thank Dr. Kroto for his help with defending good science education. His support was invaluable. But I also applaud his ability to inspire curiosity and guide others toward scientific discovery.

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