Friday, March 24, 2023

Francisco Ayala, a Spanish biologist, dies at 88

Spanish evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala died today, a week before his 89th birthday, according to his friend, the American theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss.

Ayala (Madrid, 1934) studied at the University of Salamanca and was ordained a Dominican priest in 1960, moving a year later to study in the United States, where he received a doctorate in genetics from Columbia University in New York. the Ukrainian-American geneticist and evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky.

He later joined Rockefeller University and the University of California, where he taught and obtained US citizenship.

Considered one of the most outstanding Spanish scientists, his research focuses on protein sequence studies to restore the history of evolution, although he has investigated the origin of malaria, chagas and other parasitic diseases.

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Likewise, in the philosophy of biology, bioethics, and between science and religion, he compared himself to the most, but he suspended his attitude.

Ayala, who lived in the United States, signed more than 40 books and 1,000 scientific papers. He has also been named an honorary doctor by dozens of universities in different countries, such as Greece, Argentina, Poland, Russia, the United States or Spain, among others.

He was also an advisor to former US President Bill Clinton and received the Templeton Prize, as well as a member of the United States Academy of Sciences, from which he was expelled in 2021 after sexually harassing several female colleagues.

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The expulsion came after Ayala had to resign from the University of California, Irvine in 2018, following an investigation that found him guilty of sexual harassment. The biologist denied the allegations against him, which included sexually suggestive comments and inviting a junior teacher to sit on his lap.

Lawrence M. Krauss, an American theoretical scientist, lamented Ayala’s death as “a loss to science and the world,” as he expressed in a blog article dedicated to his biologist.

He also emphasized that he was a “scholar” and a “genius” who worked to “defend the doctrine of evolution, even so as not to abandon the Catholic faith”.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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