Corbet, Philip S. 1929-2008 (Philip Steven Corbet)

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Corbet, Philip S. 1929-2008 (Philip Steven Corbet)


Born May 21, 1929, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya (now Malaysia); died of a heart attack, February 13, 2008, in Truro, Cornwall, England. Entomologist, educator, and author. Corbet began and ended his career fascinated by that mesmerizing, bedazzling creature of myth, prehistory, and modern science: the dragonfly. The intervening years were often occupied by endeavors more down-to-earth and mundane, but his lifelong interest in the odonata, the creatures with the extra set of wings, never flagged. Corbet was born, in what is now Malaysia, to a family of naturalists and earned his doctorate with a thesis on dragonfly ecology. He worked as an entomologist in Uganda throughout the 1950s, conducting field studies on fish, crocodiles, and mosquitoes, particularly on their role as carriers of epidemic diseases. After Uganda achieved independence from the dwindling British Empire, he spent most of the 1960s in Canada studying mosquitoes of the Arctic and much of the 1970s in New Zealand. Corbet then settled in Scotland as a professor of zoology at the University of Dundee until 1990, when he was awarded honorary appointments at the University of Edinburgh. In Scotland he also worked with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Nature Conservancy Council. He spent his retirement years in Cornwall, where he was active with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Corbet's contributions to the field of insect biology and his field studies of insects as spreaders of life-threatening diseases earned the scientist the gold medal of the Entomological Society of Canada, the Neill Prize of the Royal Entomological Society, and honorary degrees and fellowships from around the world. His writings, however, tended to focus on his lifelong preoccupation: in addition to a few highly specialized treatises related to his work in the Arctic, Corbet was the author or coauthor of The Odonata of Canada and Alaska (1953), Dragonflies (1960), A Biology of Dragonflies (1962), and Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata (1999).



Times (London, England), March 31, 2008, p. 57.

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Corbet, Philip S. 1929-2008 (Philip Steven Corbet)

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