Jared Diamond Biography

Jared Mason Diamond is a highly acclaimed American scientist and author known for his popular science books. With a diverse range of fields including ecology, evolutionary biology, geography, and anthropology, Diamond has written eight books and numerous academic monographs. His notable works include ‘The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee’, ‘Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed’, ‘Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies’, and ‘The World until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?’. ‘Guns, Germs, and Steel’ gained worldwide recognition, being translated into thirty-three languages and selling millions of copies. Diamond’s achievements also include winning the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in 1998. He has conducted extensive field projects in Africa, Australia, Asia, North America, and South America, with a particular focus on Papua New Guinea. His groundbreaking studies on the birds of Papua New Guinea have contributed significantly to the field. Diamond has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant in 1985, the Zoological Society of San Diego Conservation Medal in 1993, the International Cosmos Prize in 1998, and the National Medal of Science in 1999. In 2005, he was ranked 9th among the top 100 public intellectuals by ‘Foreign Policy’ and ‘Prospect’ magazines. Currently, Diamond serves as a Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Jared Mason Diamond
  • Age: 86 Years, 86 Year Old Males
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Marie Cohen
    • Father: Louis Diamond
    • Mother: Flora Kaplan
  • Born Country: United States
  • Physiologists
  • Non-Fiction Writers
  • City: Boston
  • U.S. State: Massachusetts
  • More Facts
  • Education: Harvard University, Trinity College, Cambridge
  • Awards:
    • Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science (1997)
    • Royal Society Prize for Science Books (1992, 1998 & 2006)
    • Pulitzer Prize (1998)
    • International Cosmos Prize (1998)
    • National Medal of Science (1999)
    • Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (2001)
    • Wolf Prize in Agriculture (2013)

Childhood & Early Life

Jared Diamond was born on September 10, 1937, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Louis Diamond and Flora Kaplan. His father was a physician and his mother was a linguist, school teacher, and concert pianist. Both of his parents came from families that had migrated to the US from East Europe. Diamond began learning the piano at the age of six and attended the Roxbury Latin School in Massachusetts. He developed a love for languages and writing at a young age, thanks to his mother’s influence. He also had a strong interest in mathematics and biology, which led him to aspire to become a physician like his father.

Education and Career

Diamond attended Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and history in 1958. During his time at Harvard, he also studied music composition, the history of the American Revolution, and various languages. He then went on to earn a PhD in the physiology and biophysics of membranes from Trinity College, University of Cambridge, in 1961.

Following his PhD, Diamond returned to Harvard as a Junior Fellow and conducted research in the Biophysical Laboratory of Harvard Medical School. He focused on studying the transportation of ions and non-electrolytes across biological membranes, particularly in the gall bladder. However, his career took a turn when he embarked on a trip to New Guinea in 1964. This trip sparked his interest in evolutionary biology and ecology, leading him to make numerous expeditions to New Guinea and its neighboring islands to study the ecology and evolution of birds.

Diamond became a dedicated conservationist and worked on designing national park systems for Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Indonesian New Guinea. He also participated in field projects around the world, including Australia, Africa, North America, South America, and Asia. He has published numerous scholarly works on ornithology and ecology, but is most well-known for his science books that cover a wide range of topics. His book “The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal” earned him critical acclaim and several awards.

Notable Works and Achievements

One of Diamond’s most famous books, “Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies,” was published in 1997 and became an international best-seller. It won several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the Aventis Prize for Science Books. In 2005, a TV documentary series based on the book was produced by the National Geographic Society. Diamond has also written other notable books such as “Why is Sex Fun?” (1997), “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” (2005), and “The World until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?” (2012).

Diamond is a founding member of the Board of the Society of Conservation Biology and serves as a director of Conservation International. He is a member of prestigious organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. In 2009, he received an honorary doctorate from Westfield State University. Currently, Diamond is a Professor of Geography at UCLA and also teaches at LUISS Guido Carli, a private university in Rome.

Personal Life & Legacy

Jared Diamond is married to Marie Cohen, the granddaughter of Polish statesman Edward Werner. They have twin sons who were born in 1987.

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