Francis Theodore Haxo, a professor emeritus of marine biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, died peacefully on June 10, 2010, surrounded by his family.
A native of North Dakota and graduate of the University of North Dakota, Haxo attended graduate school at Stanford University, where he became interested in photobiology and was awarded a Ph.D. in 1947. During World War II he worked on developing sunscreens to protect military personnel from ultra-violet rays in tropical theaters of war.
While in a postdoctoral appointment in L. R. Blinks' laboratory at Hopkins Marine Station, he made his best known scientific breakthroughs: the Haxo-Blinks oxygen electrode, a measuring device that is widely used, and the discovery of chromatic transients from which the critical concept arose of two differing methods for plants to photosynthesize. His first faculty appointment was in plant physiology at Johns Hopkins University, where he discovered a new carotenoid that became important as a colorant in the food industry.
In 1952, Haxo joined the faculty of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he pursued research on photosynthesis, plant pigments and the physiology of algae.
He is remembered by his students as a patient, generous, meticulous and gentlemanly scientist. Haxo is survived by his wife, Judith Haxo; his children, John, Philip, Theodore and Aileen Haxo, and Barbara Phillips; eight grandchildren and his sister, Ruth Schmoll, of Houston, Texas. The family suggests that gifts to honor Haxo be made to support research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for global science research and education in the world. Now in its second century of discovery, the scientific scope of the institution has grown to include biological, physical, chemical, geological, geophysical, and atmospheric studies of the earth as a system. Hundreds of research programs covering a wide range of scientific areas are under way today on every continent and in every ocean. The institution has a staff of more than 1,400 and annual expenditures of approximately $195 million from federal, state, and private sources. Scripps operates oceanographic research vessels recognized worldwide for their outstanding capabilities. Equipped with innovative instruments for ocean exploration, these ships constitute mobile laboratories and observatories that serve students and researchers from institutions throughout the world. Birch Aquarium at Scripps serves as the interpretive center of the institution and showcases Scripps research and a diverse array of marine life through exhibits and programming for more than 430,000 visitors each year. Learn more at scripps.ucsd.edu and follow us at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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