Royal Society Publishing

Joseph Needham, C.H. 9 December 1900 — 24 March 1995

J.B. Gurdon, Barbara Rodbard

Elected F.R.S. 1941


The number of people who are C.H., F.R.S. and F.B.A. can be counted on one finger of one hand. Joseph Needham's death on 24 March 1995 leaves no living person in this category. Not surprisingly, therefore, for someone of his distinction, his life has been reviewed in at least one book, in many articles and in several obituaries. Prominent among these very professional accounts of Needham's life are the following: Abir–Am (1987, 1988) Haraway (1976) and most interestingly Holorenshaw (1973), an account by Joseph Needham of himself. Rather than attempt to précis or summarize these accounts, we have chosen to address this memoir to particular aspects of the life of such an unusual polymath.

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