On Accepting the Second Annual Theodosius Dobzhansky Memorial Award for Research in Behavior Genetics
Behavior Genetics, Vol. 8, No. 6. 1978
It is a signal and most unexpected honor to have been selected for the Second Annual Theodosius Dobzhansky Memorial Award, so high in a list which will extend down the decades into a future of ever‑growing distinction. Dobzhansky himself will surely remain one of the giants among these men and women to come; and I feel very humble at being set, thus, in his spiritual presence. He was not only a great scientist but, which is more for me, a man of wisdom, a broadly humane and generous spirit. It was always the great issues that face mankind which were his first concern, inspiring him in his empirical and his theoretical studies.
The grand idea of evolution gripped my own imagination in my school days. To be sure, E put it behind me in the arduous years of learning to be a doctor and a psychiatrist. But it never ceased to influence my thoughts and led me on from psychiatry toward genetics and the study of the complex nature of which human individuals are made, their uniqueness, and their infinite diversity.
I feel a kinship with Dobzhansky in that I too am a religious man in his sense, as are I suspect many of us with a biological background. While traditional creeds mean little to me, I, like him, believe that there is a meaning in the universe: that there is a oneness in all life, in which man is a part for all his transcendent powers.
I wish to send you my very deep sense of appreciation of the honor you have paid me: one that comes from the New World to the Old, and from such a young and vigorous society. Its aims and purpose are the ones that largely motivated my own career. It is a source of pride to me that your immediate past president, Professor Irving Gottesman, chose to come and work in my research unit in London, thereby becoming a lifelong friend. May your Association long flourish and exercise on our troubled culture an increasing influence toward sanity, wisdom, and tolerance.