W. D. Hamilton

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William Donald Hamilton FRS (1 August 1936 – 7 March 2000) was a British evolutionary biologist, widely recognised as one of the greatest evolutionary theorists of the 20th century.[1][2]

Hamilton became famous through his theoretical work expounding a rigorous genetic basis for the existence of kin selection and altruism, an insight that was a key part of the development of a gene-centric view of evolution. He can therefore be seen as one of the forerunners of sociobiology, as popularized by E. O. Wilson. Hamilton also published important work on sex ratios and the evolution of sex. From 1984 to his death in 2000, he was a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford University.


Early life

Hamilton was born in 1936 in Cairo, Egypt, the second eldest of seven children. His father A. M. Hamilton was a New Zealand-born engineer. His mother B. M. Hamilton was a medical doctor also from New Zealand.

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