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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lynn Margulis Passed Away

Posted by on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 8:04 AM


Yesterday, Dorion Sagan announced on Facebook that his mother, the biologist Lynn Margulis, "died peacefully in her sleep at home surrounded by family." Lynn Margulis is famous for transporting endosymbiosis theory from the outskirts of biology to its core. Because of her, it is now widely accepted that certain organelles in plant and animal cells came from free-living bacteria. For example, mitochondria, the power factories in our own cells, descended from purple bacteria. The first part of Margulis' career was a wild success; the second part was deeply problematic. Many felt that she took the symbiosis idea too far, and her constant attacks on Neo-Darwinism were not rewarded—she believed that mutation did not explain biological novelty and instead located, yes you guessed it, symbiosis as the source of biological innovation. We will not get into her opinions on AIDS. Above all, Margulis was a major intellectual force of the 20th century, she did transform a huge part of her field, and her books overflow with brilliant ideas and insights.

From Symbiotic Planet:

As the material stuff from which all living bodies are made, we have in another sense been around since the origin of the universe. The matter in the bodies of all forms, including, of course, mammals like us, can be traced to the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and other elements that were made in the supernova explosions of stars.
Margulis's first husband, Carl Sagan, introduced me to those exploding stars. She introduced me to the world of microscopic life. She and he have come and gone.


Comments (8) RSS

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TVDinner 1
And so will you. And so will I.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on November 23, 2011 at 8:31 AM · Report this
venomlash 2
So it goes.
Posted by venomlash on November 23, 2011 at 8:39 AM · Report this
thanks for posting.

also see bubbles in book stack. can't wait to read.
Posted by northaxe on November 23, 2011 at 9:30 AM · Report this
Doc Margulis' work was truly as brilliant as the lady herself, and her texts are highly recommended reading, albeit rather dense in complexity, but worth the effort.

Her work regardin symbiogenesis is truly awesome and awe-inspiring.

A sad, sad loss to science, and humanity.

Posted by sgt_doom on November 23, 2011 at 10:25 AM · Report this
Another great but rarely read piece written by Margolis…
Posted by how could I not on November 23, 2011 at 11:52 AM · Report this
The endosymbiont theory was not original with Margulis.
Posted by zikes on November 23, 2011 at 1:05 PM · Report this
Charles Mudede 7
@6 did you read what I wrote?
Posted by Charles Mudede on November 23, 2011 at 3:15 PM · Report this
Packeteer 8
@7 You wrote that she basically she popularized it and got it into wide acceptance. This is not the case.

She is just a nut-bag that latched onto one revolutionary theory that turned out to be true. She then saw all problems as nails equipped only with her endosymbiotic hammer.
Posted by Packeteer on November 23, 2011 at 7:38 PM · Report this

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