Prof. Lynn Margulis, who in 2010 spent a month at STIAS as a Donald Gordon fellow, died on 22 November at her home in Amherst, Massachusetts after suffering a stroke. She was best known for her theory on the origin of eukaryotic organelles and her contributions to the endosymbiotic theory, which is now generally accepted for how certain organelles were formed. She also collaborated with James Lovelock and together they formulated the Gaia hypothesis. Lynn Margulis was Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983, and received from William J. Clinton the Presidential Medal of Science in 1999. The Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., announced in 1998 that it will permanently archive her papers. She was a faculty mentor at Boston University for 22 years. Her publications, spanning a wide range of scientific topics, include original contributions to cell biology and microbial evolution.
During her stay at STIAS she gave two public lectures, one of which, entitled Gaia & Symbiogenesis: The living Earth from Space, formed part of the STIAS lecture series. She said of her stay at STIAS: ” What a pleasure and privilege in this florid, luxuriant place to enjoy one’s own work, good company and the feeling that this, South Africa generally and Stellenbosch in particular, is the appropriate environment for Homo sapiens. The shrieking morning birds, the cuckoos and the clicking beautiful people. STIAS is the ultimate in academic comfort and inspiration! Thank you for inviting and sustaining me. Unforgettable.”.