CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (650) 723-2558

Professor emeritus Arthur C. Giese dead at 89

STANFORD -- Professor Emeritus Arthur C. Giese, an internationally known photobiologist and a devoted teacher who served on the Stanford faculty for more than 60 years, died Jan. 1 at Stanford Hospital after a heart attack. He was 89.

Giese, who retired officially in 1970, "maintained a full- time active career right up until the time of his death," said Philip Hanawalt, professor of biological sciences.

Giese was an authority on marine invertebrate biology, cell physiology and protozoology. He was "the world authority" on the protozoan Blepharisma, Hanawalt said.

Giese kept an office in the department of biological sciences, and at the time of his death was completing the seventh revision of his classic textbook, Cell Physiology, first published in 1959. A group of colleagues plans to see that the text is finished, Hanawalt said.

In addition to his textbook, he wrote Blepharisma, The Biology of a Light-Sensitive Protozoan in 1973, and edited an eight- edition book series, Photophysiology. He also wrote, in 1976, Living With Our Sun's Ultraviolet Rays, which dealt with the role of ultraviolet light in causing cancer.

Dedicated to students

Giese was mentor to more than two dozen doctoral students in biology, and colleagues said he was remarkable for his depth of concern for both his graduate students and the undergraduates who took his courses.

In a statement read at Giese's memorial service Jan. 10 in Memorial Church, Donald Kennedy, former Stanford president and a colleague in the department of biological sciences, said that Giese would photograph all 160 students in his course on cell physiology. He would interview each student and prepare an index card to which he could add evaluations of their performances.

"I doubt if many Stanford faculty members have written, over the years, as many recommendations to medical and graduate school as he," Kennedy said.

Colleagues at Hopkins Marine Station wrote in a tribute that Giese and his wife, Raina, an artist, "incorporated his students into their family." They recalled that Giese gave each of his graduating students a cutting from a jade plant from the garden of their campus home.

Hanawalt said that Giese treated all students equally, "no matter what their intellectual ability. He was known and loved for a lifelong dedication to teaching."

"In these days when we are trying to get professors to put more emphasis on teaching, here is a professor who throughout his career showed an admirable dedication to students and their needs. If a student had a problem, that became his priority," Hanawalt said. "He was one of the most selfless people I ever met."

Kennedy, who met Giese 35 years ago when Kennedy was a "hopeful, rather nervous candidate for a faculty position here," said that Giese also was "a compassionate and helpful colleague, concerned with the welfare of younger colleagues and interested in their progress."

In his honor, the department of biological sciences has established the Arthur Giese Graduate Fellowship in Cell Biology, said Robert Simoni, department chairman.

Many talents

A native of Chicago, Giese earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago in 1927 and was a teaching fellow at the University of California the following year. He came to Stanford in 1929 for doctoral work, serving as a teaching assistant, then joining the faculty in 1933.

He also taught at Cal Tech, Woods Hole and Cold Spring Harbor. He was twice a winner of Guggenheim fellowships and was a Rockefeller fellow at Princeton. He was a member of the National Research Council and was active in the Western Society of Naturalists.

Giese was an accomplished flutist and cellist, said David Perkins, professor emeritus of biological sciences. Departmental colleagues who arrived early enough in the morning often could hear him practicing in his office.

Perkins recalled that in 1981 Giese was struck by a car while walking on Palm Drive. He broke his leg in 13 places and his pelvis, but he struggled to put himself back in shape and continued his professional work, Perkins said.

Giese is survived by his son, Arthur T. Giese of Chico, Calif.; five granddaughters; one great-grandson; and two sisters.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Raina Giese Fund for Creative Painting in the Stanford Department of Art, Stanford, CA. 94305-2018.



This is an archived release.

This release is not available in any other form. Images mentioned in this release are not available online.
Stanford News Service has an extensive library of images, some of which may be available to you online. Direct your request by EMail to newslibrary@stanford.edu.