HARRY BEEVERS

January 10, 1924–April 14, 2004

BY MAARTEN J. CHRISPEELS


HARRY BEEVERS’S CAREER of 50 years spanned the emergence of plant metabolism as a discipline, and he was one of its major contributors. The most notable achievement of his research group was the discovery of the glyoxylate cycle in seedlings of plants that store fat in their seed and utilize this fat as a source of energy and for the production of glucose during early seedling growth. These studies culminated in the demonstration that the glyoxylate cycle of fat-storing seeds is located in a specific metabolic compartment, the glyoxysome. In the course of this work he trained a large cadre of Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars from around the world, all of whom remember him fondly. He was an excellent and quick-witted public speaker who was always in demand as an after-dinner speaker/entertainer. With his repertoire of songs, the lyrics for many of which he had composed, he was the life of the party. He enjoyed life and was known to muse, “that young scientists shouldn’t take themselves so seriously.” In addition to being an outstanding researcher, Harry was a rigorous and much beloved teacher both in the classroom and in the laboratory. His achievements and dynamism are all the more remarkable considering he had to cope with diabetes for much of his career.



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