Charles Duncan Michener, Entomologist, Died at 97

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Charles Duncan Michener was born on September 22, 1918, and died on November 1, 2015.

He was an American entomologist born in Pasadena, California.

Charles was a leading expert on bees, his magnum opus being The Bees of the World.

Much of his career was devoted to the systematics and natural history of bees.

His first peer-reviewed publication was in 1934, at the age of 16.

Charles received his B.S. in 1939 and his Ph.D. in Entomology in 1941, from the University of California, Berkeley.

He remained in California until 1942, when he became an Assistant Curator of Lepidoptera at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

In 1944 he published a classification system for the bees that was soon adopted worldwide, and was in use until 1993 and 1995, when he co-authored new classifications.

From 1943 to 1946, Charles also served as a First Lieutenant and Captain in the United States Army Sanitary Corps, where he researched insect-borne diseases, and described the life cycle of the common chigger.

Charles joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 1948 as Associate Professor of Entomology.

He was chairman of the Entomology Department from 1949 to 1961, and then again from 1972 to 1975.

Charles was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1955, and again in 1966.

He was awarded the Watkins Distinguished Professor of Entomology in 1958.

Charles was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1965, and became Director of the Snow Entomological Museum (now part of the University of Kansas Natural History Museum, itself now a division within the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute) in 1974.

In February 2001, the Association of American Publishers gave its prestigious R.R. Hawkins Award for the Outstanding Professional Reference or Scholarly Work of 2000 to Michener’s opus, The Bees of the World.

Charles passed away at age 97 in November 2015.

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