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Lewis Thomas
1913 - 1993

American medical doctor, scientist, professor of biology, Dean of the medical schools of Yale and New York Universities, CEO of the Sloan-Kettering Institute, author of The Lives of a Cell (1974) and Medusa and the Snail (1979)


Our behaviour toward each other is the strangest, most unpredictable, and almost entirely unaccountable of all of the phenomena with which we are obliged to live.

1983 - from Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony
I am a member of a fragile species, still new to the earth, the youngest creatures of any scale, here only a few moments as evolutionary time is measured, a juvenile species, a child of a species. We are only tentatively set in place, error-prone, at risk of fumbling, in real danger at the moment of leaving behind only a thin layer of our fossils...

1992 - from The Fragile Species
It is in our collective behaviour that we are most mysterious.

1974 - from "Computers" in The Lives of a Cell