USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

Role Models in Science & Engineering Research: Eva Crane — World-Authority on Bees

–Trained as a nuclear physicist, she abandoned that field to travel the world researching the behavior and history of bees

–Established the first worldwide organization for exchanging authoritative research information on bees

Born in Britain in 1912, Eva Crane earned a Ph.D. in nuclear physics but left that field to pursue her fascination with bees and their hives — a deep interest cultivated after she received a box of bees as a wedding gift in 1942. (Such a present was very much welcome in Britain during those days of World War II to help lessen the short supply of sugar.)  Eva would become known as the “Grand Dame of Honey Bee Researchers”, devoting  more than 50 years to the study of bees and their behavior, particularly their complex link to humans and the environment. Writing extensively, she worked in more than 60 countries to learn more about honeybees, sometimes traveling by primitive canoe or dog sled to document the human use of bees from prehistoric times to the present. Among her findings: She found that ancient Babylonians used honey to preserve corpses, and that bees were effectively used as military weapons by the Viet Cong. She also documented the critical role bees play in our food supply, namely that honey bees are responsible for the pollination of at least 40% of the food crops eaten by humans and animals.

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Comments

  1. #1 Chris
    Deerfield Beach, FL
    January 16, 2013

    Eva Crane was a truly brilliant scientist. Too bad she is no longer around, we are currently in the middle of a serious bee crisis. Here are a few good articles about it, here, here, and here.