Katherine Esau

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Katherine Esau (born April 3, 1898 in Yekaterinoslav , Russian Empire ; † June 4, 1997 in Santa Barbara , California ) was a German-Russian - American botanist at the University of California, Davis and the University of California, Santa Barbara . For several decades she was considered a leader in phytotomy , the anatomy of plants, and contributed significantly to the study of the structure, development and evolution of the phloem .


Katherine Esau was born into a family of Russian Mennonites. Under the impression of the October Revolution, she broke off her studies at the Golitsin Agricultural University for Women in Moscow and the family fled to Germany in 1918. Here Esau continued her studies at the Agricultural University in Berlin from 1919 to 1922 .

Her family moved to the United States in 1922 and settled in a Mennonite environment in Reedley , California. Here Esau was involved in the cultivation of sugar beet for the Spreckels Company , which should be less sensitive to the curly-top virus (a plant virus from the Geminiviridae family ). In 1931 Esau earned a Ph.D. from the University of California. , then she worked at the University of California, Davis , as a lecturer and received a professorship there in 1937. In 1963 she moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara , where she retired in 1965 , but was scientifically active until 1992, especially in the field of electron microscopy .

Your book Plant Anatomy from 1953 was considered the standard work of its time and experienced several new editions. Other monographs included Anatomy of Seed Plants (1960), Plants, Viruses and Insects (1961), Vascular Differentiation in Plants (1965), Viruses in Plant Hosts (1968) and The Phloem (1969).

Katherine Esau remained unmarried and childless.

Awards (selection)

The Botanical Society of America has been presenting the Katherine Esau Award , donated by Katherine Esau, for outstanding work by young scientists in developmental and structural botany since 1988 . At the University of Wisconsin – Madison there was a Katherine Esau Professorship for botany and plant pathology, the last holder was Ray F. Evert.


Individual evidence

  1. Katherine Esau. In: gf.org. John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, accessed May 26, 2019 (American English).
  2. Book of Members 1780 – present, Chapter E. (PDF; 477 kB) In: American Academy of Arts and Sciences (amacad.org). Retrieved May 26, 2019 .
  3. Katherine Esau. In: nasonline.org. National Academy of Sciences , accessed May 26, 2019 .
  4. Dr. Katehrine Esau. In: amphilsoc.org. American Philosophical Society , accessed May 26, 2019 .
  5. ^ The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details Katherine Esau. In: nsf.gov. National Science Foundation , accessed May 26, 2019 .
  6. ^ The Katherine Esau Award. In: botany.org. Botanical Society of America, accessed May 26, 2019 (American English).
  7. ^ Hilldale faculty award recipients named. In: wisc.edu. University of Wisconsin – Madison , May 1, 1998, accessed May 26, 2019 .