UW News

March 27, 2012

Obituary: John S. Edwards

News and Information

John S. Edwards, emeritus professor of zoology, died March 25 at the age of 80.

Those wishing to honor Edwards memory with a gift may do so by contributing to the John S. Edwards Endowed Fund in Biology. Contributions can be sent to: UW Biology, c/o Kristy Brady, Box 351800, Seattle, WA 98195-1800.

Edwards was known around the world as one of the pioneers of insect developmental neurobiology. He was also a leading scholar in the ecology of high-altitude insects, cold tolerance of Antarctic insects, the role of insects in ecosystem regeneration following volcanic eruptions and the evolution of insect flight.

Edwards was a skilled mountaineer. He climbed around the world, made first ascents in Alaska, was on the expedition that made the first winter ascent of Denali and was elected to the Alaska Sportsman Hall of Fame. He put his mountaineering skills to academic use in his pioneering studies of the ecology of high-altitude insects.

Edwards joined the UW in 1967. He taught entomology, human ecology and other courses for decades. He served as the director of the Undergraduate Biology Program from 1982 to 1987 and director of the UW Honors Program from 1994 to 2000.  He was appointed emeritus professor of zoology in 2000, but his support for students did not end with this retirement.