Jack Cohen, the internationally-known reproductive biologist, lives in Newent, Gloucestershire. Jack has a laboratory in his kitchen, helps couples get pregnant by referring them to colleagues, invents biologically realistic aliens for science fiction writers and, in his spare time, throws boomerangs. Jack, who has more letters to his name than can be repeated here, writes, lectures, talks and campaigns to promote public awareness of science, particularly biology. His latest campaign is to see lakes in his local Gloucestershire area re-furbished – too many are turning into meadows because their clever Victorian outlets have become blocked, broken or replaced by weirs; he is concerned, too, that the “common” amoebae that should be found in them are vanishing – only one in fifty has them.
Jack Cohen, scientist and polymath
Jack consults for test-tube-baby and other infertility laboratories, and has worked in Assisted Conception Units. He was reproductive biologist in the Zoology Dept at Birmingham University for some thirty years, later in Warwick Maths Institute for eight - he denies being a mathematician, despite having been made an Honorary Professor in that Institute. His last position, at Warwick University, bridged the Ecosystems Unit of the Biology Dept and the Mathematics Institute, and his brief included bringing more science to more public awareness – which he still attempts. Many of Jack’s former students have made their own mark on the world of science; most have advanced reproductive biology, one developed the use of DNA-fingerprinting for criminal investigation, one got a Nobel - and one has won £250,000 on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”.
Jack’s public lectures include The possibility of life on other planets, Why is Mickey Mouse? and Why so many sperms?, while his day schools and evening courses have included Techniques for Biologists and Naturalists, Freshwater Ecology, Aquaria in Classrooms and Animal Handling.
Jack Cohen, author
Jack has published about 120 research papers. His latest, on Sex, diploidy and the human Y chromosome, has appeared in Systematics and Biodiversity 2 1-7 (2005).
His books include Living Embryos (Pergamon, 1963, 1967, 1980), a classic textbook that sold more than 100,000 copies; Reproduction (Butterworth's); Spermatozoa, Antibodies and Infertility (Blackwell); The Privileged Ape (Parthenon), a rather different look at human evolution. He now works with the mathematician Ian Stewart (Does God Play Dice? and the 1997-8 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures) with whom he has explored issues of complexity, chaos and simplicity. Their first joint book, The Collapse of Chaos, was published by Viking/Penguin ('94, re-issued 2000), and their Figments of Reality: the evolution of the curious mind (Cambridge University Press) was published in ’97. Both authors cooperated with Terry Pratchett in The Science of Discworld (Ebury), and its sequel The Science of Discworld 2: The Globe (Ebury). the third The Science of Discworld: Darwin’s watch has just appeared. They have also produced a science-fiction novel, Wheelers (Warner-Aspect) which was chosen as November 2000’s monthly choice by the SFBC, and did well in the US and the UK (Simon&Schuster). A sequel, Heaven, has been published by Warner-Aspect, and a prequel is in preparation. Stop Working and Start Thinking: how to become a scientist (with Graham Medley, epidemiologist and statistician) was published in 2000, and the second edition is from Taylor & Francis, published June ‘05. The third science book with Stewart, The Appearance of Design, is in preparation, signed up for Penguin.
Jack has assisted in the production of several educational and biological-dramatic television programmes and series, including "The Scientist's Eye" and "Look Again", etc.), and has more in prospect. He helped produce the Horizon "Genesis" programme (BBC, 1986).
Jack Cohen, creator of Aliens
Jack acts as a consultant to top science fiction authors (e.g. McCaffrey, Gerrold, Harrison, Niven, Pratchett) designing alien creatures and ecologies. He is frequently heard on BBC radio programmes, and has initiated and participated in the production of several TV programmes, e.g. BBC Horizon: Genesis; ITV Science: Take Another Look; Channel 4: Reality on the Rocks; BBC Channel 2: Fancy Fish (for which he did much of the filming, especially time-lapse microscopy); and for BBC2 on the 1997 Mars week-end: The Natural History of an Alien. More are in preparation.
Jack’s books include Evolving the Alien (Ebury), with Ian Stewart, about the real biology of alien life, which was published in 2002; in the US it is called What Does a Martian Look Like; the science of extra-terrestrial life by Wiley. The Ebury UK paperback also has that title.
Jack Cohen, off duty
Jack’s hobbies and interests include boomerang throwing, science fiction, operatic music and keeping strange animals (from Hydras to mantis shrimps, and octopi to llamas). He keeps a large marine aquarium in his spare bedroom and invites visitors to watch the marine soap opera that is life in there.
He is a former chairman of British Mensa, the high IQ society, and organised the 2005 Mensa-at-Cambridge event.
Jack was born on 19th September 1933 in Norwich, England. He has been married three times and has six children.
Contact details: Prof Jack Cohen, 3 , Picklenash Court, Bradford’s Lane, NEWENT, Gloucestershire GL18 1QT UK
Home answerphone & fax: +44 (0)1531 822432 Mobile: 07812 153677