My Ph.D. advisor, mentor, and friend Richard C. “Dick” Lewontin turns 80 today. Still active at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, churning out pieces for The New York Review of Books (here’s a good exemplar), and chopping wood on his Vermont farm, let no one say that Dick has reached his dotage. Distressing to the rest of us who are ageing fast, Dick has only a few gray hairs and wrinkles, and looks pretty much as he did when I came to his lab in 1973. On his 70th birthday, several hundred of his former students, postdocs, and collaborators assembled at Harvard for “Dickfest”, and there will be a “Dickfest II” this summer. This is not the place for me to wax effusive about Dick’s many talents as researcher, writer, and teacher; just let me say that I dedicated WEIT to him. Hoist one for the “old” guy today.
If you’d like to see him in action, eloquent as always, below is an hour-long interview (“Conversation with History”) he did with Harry Kreisler at Berkeley: