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Jean Le Calvez

1908 - 1954

Yolande Le Calvez

1910 - 2002

Yolande was a micropaleontologist at the Museum of Natural History in Paris (where she died).

The following is a translation of the memorial to Jean Le Calvez in:
Micropaleontology, Apr 1955 1:191-193

The sudden and unexpected death of Jean Le Calvez, on August 4, 1954, was a great loss for all biologists in addition to all of micropaleontology.

Jean Le Calvez was born on July 27, 1908 at Jouy (Eure et Loir - France). He studied at the Teacher Training College in Chartres. Later, attracted by the natural sciences, particularly zoology, he continued his studies for a degree, which he obtained in 1931. In 1933 he was appointed assistant at the Marine Zoology Station of Villefranche s / Mer (Maritime Alps), then in 1934, Assistant in Zoology at the Marine Biology Laboratory in Banyuls-sur-Mer (Eastern Pyrenees).

During his time at these two laboratories he began his work on the biology of foraminifera, especially the methods of reproduction of these protists. He studied the gametes of foraminifera (1935) and made an important contribution in the study of the problem of modifications in the pelagic foraminifera Orbulina universa and Tretomphalus bulloides in connection with their reproduction.

The four years devoted almost exclusively to the study of the biology of foraminifera would result, in 1938, in the publication of his PhD thesis; fundamental work in the understanding of the processes of development and reproduction of foraminifera. In this seminal work, Le Calvez has shown the place in the life cycle of microspherical form B and micropsherical form A as well as forms A1 and A2 which were defined by Hofke. He showed the alteration in some species, during a complete cycle of reproduction, of forms A and B and, in some cases forms A1, A2 and B. He established that the biological basis of (purely morphological) "trimorphism" was far from having the universality that had been attributed by Hofke.

Appointed Head of Works at the Laboratory of Banyuls, Le Calvez continued his biological researches, which lead to further the modalities of reproduction in other animal groups as foraminifera.

His studies were interrupted by the 1939-1945 war in which Jean Le Calvez served as a Lieutenant. His successful conduct earned him a Mention in Dispatches of the regiment la Croix de Guerre with a Bronze Star and the Cross for voluntary military service. After the war, Le Calvez resumed his scientific activity.

He was appointed lecturer at the Faculty of Sciences of Bordeaux in 1942, then at Rennes in 1944. From 1946, he published discoveries in the highly specialized field of nuclear and chromosome biology, Drosophila, amphipods and other small animal groups. In addition he made important contribution in terms of foraminifera in le Traité de Zoologie published under the direction of Professor Grasse. In 1950 he was appointed Professor at the Faculty of Sciences and the School of Medicine and Pharmacy of Rennes.

The full list of publications, though relatively short—40 titles from 1934 to 1953—reflects the painstaking nature of Le Calvez, who brought to his work thoroughness and consummate care. He preferred to publish less, leaving nothing to chance. You can be sure to find in the work of Le Calvez, results obtained from his sole concern of the search for truth. He had in his wife, Yolande Le Calvez, a leading collaborator, whose micropaleontological publications were authoritative. For his principles and high scientific integrity, he received a warm welcome that will not be forgotten by those who knew him, and by those beginners to whom he lavished, without counting, his advice.

Adapted From:

The History of Earth Sciences Society
University of California: In Memoriam, 1993
University of California Museum of Paleontology








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