We would like to give a warm welcome to Professor Jack Cohen FIBiol., DSc., who has kindly come on board as a patron of the trust. Jack has an incredible career in aquatics and as an advisor on films and books.
Polymath, sympathetic biologist and creator of credible aliens, Prof Jack began a lifelong interest in fish as boy in the 1940s – importing and breeding tropical species long before it was common to do so. His academic career led him from cell culture to human fertility and complexity theory, yet he has always maintained his fascination with things aquatic and inspired many students by keeping fish in his departments.
Those of you from an academic background are unlikely to need us to introduce Professor Jack Cohen, so well known is he and his work within the field of biology – at Birmingham University for some thirty years and later at Warwick University. He denies being a mathematician, despite having been made an Honorary Professor in that Institute.
Many of Jack’s former students have made their own mark on the world of science; including one who developed the use of DNA-fingerprinting and one who received a Nobel prize.
Author of numerous scientific books and research papers, Jack is also known for his popular science publications, and has been involved in many science and natural history programmes on television and radio including Horizon and Attenborough’s Trials of Life. Notable science-fiction authors such as Anne McCaffrey and Jerry Pournelle consult him to design alien creatures and ecologies, and recently he has been collaborating with Ian Stewart to create the Science of Discworld series with Terry Pratchett.
Jack’s public lectures, which he continues to deliver, include titles like ‘The possibility of life on other planets’, ‘Why is Mickey Mouse?’ and ‘Why so many sperms?’, while his day schools and evening courses have included: Techniques for Biologists and Naturalists, Freshwater Ecology, Aquaria in Classrooms, and Animal Handling. Although now mostly retired, he continues to write and campaign to promote public awareness and understanding of science.
If you imagine him to be a stuffy old-fashioned Prof – you are mistaken. He is one of the kindest, most entertaining chaps one could meet and we are delighted he has accepted our invitation to become a Seahorse Trust patron.