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Pearl Memorial Lecture

The Raymond Pearl Memorial Lecture was established in 1983 by the Human Biology Association for Pearl’s contribution to the development of the field of human biology. Pearl received his PhD degree from the University of Michigan in 1902 with a dissertation on the behavior of Planaria under the mentorship of Herbert Spencer Jennings, and went on to post-graduate studies at the University of Leipzig and University College London where he studied under Karl Pearson. He was Chair of the Department of Biology at the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station from 1907-1918 and then joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University as Professor of Biometry and Vital Statistics at the School of Hygiene and Public Health, and was subsequently Professor of Biology there until his death in 1940. Pearl’s contributions to science were voluminous and included the areas of biostatistics and statistical methods, human population biology, population growth, aging, nutrition, genetics, animal behavior and physiology, and epidemiology, seeing all of these studies as part of a larger holistic human biology. He published more than 700 papers, wrote 15 books and founded and edited the Quarterly Review of Biology (1926) and Human Biology (1929). Pearl’s legacy is complicated by his connection to the eugenics movement; at one point Pearl was a major supporter but then later publicly denounced the field, becoming the first American biologist to do so. The HBA’s Raymond Pearl Memorial Lecture is delivered by an individual who has made outstanding contributions to science. Over the past 30 years, HBA is proud to have honored leading thinkers in every domain of our field:

Pearl Memorial Lecturers, 1983 – 2022

1983 Sharon Kingsland, Johns Hopkins University

1984 David Kritchevsky, University of Pennsylvania

1985 Stanley M. Garn, University of Michigan

1986 Alex F. Roche, Wright State University School of Medicine

1987 Derek F. Roberts, University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

1988 James N. Spuhler, University of New Mexico

1989 D. Carleton Gajdusek, National Institutes of Health*

1990 George H. Beaton, University of Toronto

1991 Henry J. Montoye, University of Wisconsin

1992 William J. Schull, University of Texas Health Sciences Center*

1993 Arno G. Motulsky, University of Washington*

1994 G. Ainsworth Harrison, University of Oxford*

1995 Robert N. Butler, Mount Sinai Medical Center*

1996 Paul T. Baker, Pennsylvania State University*

1997 George C. Williams, State University of New York, Stony Brook*

1998 Jean W. MacCluer, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research*

1999 Margaret Lock, McGill University*†

2000 R.M. Neill Alexander, University of Leeds

2001 Henry C. Harpending, University of Utah

2002 Jeanne Altmann, Princeton University

2003 Robert R. Sokal, Stony Brook University‡

2004 Stephen C. Stearns, Yale University‡

2005 Darna L. DuFour, University of Colorado‡

2006 A.T. Steegmann, Jr., University at Buffalo, SUNY‡

2007 Claude Bouchard, Pennington Biomedical Resource Center‡

2008 Donna Day Baird, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences‡

2009 Alan H. Bittles, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University‡

2010 John Allman, California Institute of Technology

2011 Richard Weindruch, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison‡

2012 Cynthia Beall, Case Western Reserve University‡

2013 Peter Gluckman, University of Auckland‡

2014 Charles Raison, University of Arizona

2015 Margaret C. Neville, University of Colorado

2016 Reynaldo Martorell, Emory University

2017 Jerome Siegel, University of California Los Angeles

2018 Rafael Perez-Escamilla, Yale University

2019 Amber Wutich, Arizona State University

2020 Meeting cancelled due to COVID-19

2021 Andrea Wiley, Indiana University

2022 William Leonard, Northwestern University

2023 David Vlahov, Yale University


  • Human Biology Association
  • †North American Menopause Society
  • *Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research
  • ‡Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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