In Memoriam: BettyAnn Kevles, 1938-2023

BettyAnn Kevles, a senior lecturer in the department of history at Yale University, died on August 18. She was 84 years old.

A native of New York City, Kevles was a graduate of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She earned a master’s degree in history from Columbia University. Her research interests included the history of animal behavior, Darwinian studies, the history of medical imaging, the interaction of science and art, and various aspects of human space flight including the role of women.

Before coming to Yale in 2001, Kevles taught at the Westridge School and at the Art Center College of Design, both in Pasadena, California. During this time, she wrote a weekly column, “Scientific View,” for the Los Angeles Times. She also regularly reviewed books for the paper and was a science editor at the University of California Press. At Yale, Kevles taught seminars on a variety of subjects, including the history of medical imaging, human-animal relations, and animal behavior.

Kevles was the author of several books including Naked to the Bone: A History of Medical Imaging in the Twentieth Century (Basic Books, 1998), a unique, ground-breaking work that not only explored the development of major imaging technologies, from X-rays to CT-Scans and MRI, but also recounted the impact of these technologies not only in medicine but also in the law courts and art. Her book Watching the Wild Apes: The Primate Studies of Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas (Dutton, 1976), won the Horn Book-Boston Globe award for Best Nonfiction and the New York Academy of Sciences award for Best Science Book.

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