Hutchinson with a 3-month-old potto,
New Haven, 1971.
Photo credit: William K. Sacco
The year 2003 marked the centenary of the birth of G. Evelyn Hutchinson (1903–1991), a beloved professor at Yale for 43 years and one of the most influential biologists of the 20th century.
Although his primary field of research was limnology (the study of the physical, chemical, geological and biological aspects of lakes and other bodies of fresh water), he had wide interests in the humanities and sciences, and published over 300 scholarly papers and several books. Sometimes referred to as the “Merlin” of science, he magically crafted his detailed factual understanding of organisms into broad-based concepts. His famous paper “Homage to Santa Rosalia or Why are there so many animals?” is arguably the first to deal with modern concepts of biological diversity.