By Jonathan Cowie: Sad news about a colleague who was one of the few to straddle my biological science and SF worlds. I was pleased to be paid to work with him professionally, and to drink with him socially at con bars. Dr Jack Cohen, biologist, author, SF author and SF fan, has passed.
Jack, as many of the older generation of biologists will know, was an active member of the Institute of Biology (IoB) and its W. Midlands Branch, as well as IoB Mission Control. He served a couple of terms on its Biomedical Science Committee (including when serviced by myself) as well as its Council. Among many things, he helped draft the IoB’s (now adopted by the RSB) Royal Charter.
He was for much of his career based at Birmingham University where he was a whole-organism biologist specialising in reproductive biology as well as human biomedical aspects. Jack could talk sex.
Later in his career he moved to Warwick University.
He was known for a number of television appearances, and his image (uncaptioned) was even used to illustrate geniuses in a round of BBC’s Stephen Fry’s QI. And he was the author of several popular science books.
As many older Brit SF fans will be aware, he was also active within the UK Science Fiction community and in the 1970s-1990s regularly gave talks at Birmingham’s annual Novacons and the UK national Eastercons.
Along with myself he was a special guest at the 1994 Eurocon in Timisoara, Romania, a few years after the Iron Curtain lifted.
He co-wrote a couple of SF novels with Warwick U.’s mathematician Ian Stewart FRS as well as a series of quirky and entertaining, non-fiction Science of Discworld books again with Ian and also Terry Pratchett.
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