About Me

Michael Majerus's Biography (Books)

To Authors Index

Michael Eugene Nicolas Majerus (13 February 1954 - 27 January 2009) was a British geneticist and Professor of Evolution at the University of Cambridge.

Michael Majerus was also a Teaching Fellow at Clare College, Cambridge. He was an enthusiast in Darwin's theory of evolution and became a world authority in his field of insect evolutionary biology. He was widely noted for his work on moths and ladybirds and as an advocate of the science of evolution. He was also an enthusiastic educator and the author of several books on insects, evolution and sexual reproduction. He is best remembered as an ardent supporter and champion of experiments on peppered moth evolution.

The son of Fernand and Muriel Majerus, Michael Majerus took an early interest in insects. He got his first butterfly net at the age of four. His father, a Luxembourg national by origin, encouraged him by taking him for field trips on weekends and bringing him home specimens from his travels. He was particularly interested in lepidopterans and ecological genetics following the work of E.B. Ford, whose book Moths (in the New Naturalist series) he bought at the age of ten.

He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood, and graduated in botany and zoology from Royal Holloway College, London. He earned his PhD from Royal Holloway College on the study of the genetic control of larval colour in the Angle Shades moth. He worked for two years at Keele University as a research demonstrator. In 1980 he joined the Department of Genetics at the University of Cambridge as a Research Associate. After promotion as Lecturer in 1987 and Reader in 2001, he was appointed Professor of Evolution in 2006. In 1990 he was elected Fellow of Clare College, and from the next year, in 1991, he became a Teaching Fellow of the college, the post he held until his death.

He died 27 January 2009 after an unexpected and brief struggle with aggressive mesothelioma.

To Authors Index