Medawar, Jean (Shinglewood Taylor) 1913–2005

views updated

Medawar, Jean (Shinglewood Taylor) 1913–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born February 7, 1913, in London, England; died May 3, 2005, in London, England. Activist and author. Medawar was best known for her dedicated work for the Family Planning Association, where over the years she served as a chair and editor, and as director of the Margaret Pyke Memorial Trust. Educated at Somerville College, Cambridge, she earned a master's degree in zoology there in 1936. Marrying transplantation immunologist and future Noble Prize winner Peter Medawar the next year, she then devoted herself to her husband and children. When Peter suffered a debilitating stroke in 1969, she spent her energies taking care of him, but also began working with the Family Planning Association after meeting its chair, Margaret Pyke, in 1954. Medawar served several functions while with this nonprofit organization, including joint editor from 1959 to 1976, chair—after Pyke's death—from 1966 to 1970, and as director of the Margaret Pyke Memorial Trust from 1976 to 2005. She also found time to help her husband complete his books The Life Science: Current Ideas of Biology (1977), and Aristotle to Zoos: A Philosophical Dictionary of Biology (1983), as well as his autobiography, Memoir of a Thinking Radish (1986). In addition, she collaborated with Pyke's son, David Pyke, on the books Family Planning (1971) and Hitler's Gift: Scientists Who Fled Nazi Germany (1999, published as Hitler's Gift: The True Story of the Scientists Expelled by the Nazi Regime, 2001). Her own works included Lifeclass (1980) and the memoir A Very Decided Preference: Life with Peter Medawar (1990).



Daily Telegraph (London, England), May 13, 2005.

Guardian (London, England), May 10, 2005, p. 27.

Independent (London, England), May 12, 2005, p. 38.