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Jean Rostand

(1894 - 1977)
Jean Rostand

Biography of Jean Rostand:

French biologist and moralist, Jean Rostand was the son of the playwright Edmond Rostand and of the poetess Rosemonde Gerard. Filled with enthusiasm by reading the entomologist Jean-Henri Fabreís books, Jean Rostand was more interested in science than in literature. Bachelor of science from the University of Paris, Jean Rostand settled in Ville-díAvray in 1922, after his fatherís death. In 1936, he took part in the creation of the biology section in the Palace of Discovery (Paris). Then he founded his own independent laboratory in Ville-díAvray and kept away of the university structures he judged too constraining. Very interested by the origins of life, he studied the biology of batrachians (frogs, toads...), parthenogenesis, the action of cold on eggs... and was the promoter of multiple researches on heredity.

Jean Rostand started by publishing some philosophical essays and divided his time between his profession of researcher and a very abundant scientific and literary works. With conviction and enthusiasm, he did his best to popularize biology to a large audience and to alert public opinion about the seriousness of the human problems that this science raises. Jean Rostand regarded biology as having to carry a morals and he warned against the dangers that threaten men when they are gambling sorcerer's apprentices.

Man of science, biologist, lampooner, moralist, Jean Rostand was also a great pacifist (he militates against the atomic arms). He was a convinced atheist and a free thinker (honorary president of the French Freethinking association). Without ever being sectarian, he showed a very large broadmindedness and intellectual honesty.

Jean Rostand became a member of the French Academy in 1959 and carried on with his information campaigns through conferences, radio or television.
Bibliography: in addition to an abundant scientific work: Two Pangs: Death and Love (1923), Man (1940), Pages of a Moralist (1952), What I Believe (1953), Notes of a biologist (1954), Thoughts of a biologist (1954), Notebooks of a biologist (1959), Anxieties of a biologist (1967), Does God exist? No... (1973)

Quotes of Jean Rostand

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