ANS would like to sadly inform its members of the passing away of ‘Jack’ Pettigrew last week at the age of 75.
Jack was elected to the Australian Academy of Sciences (AAS) in 1987. In the same year he was also elected to the Royal Society of London. He was Emeritus Professor of the Queensland Brain Institute and internationally known for his work on the physiology of binocular vision with extensions to the fields of binaural hearing and somatic sensation. Jack was the first to demonstrate that neurons in the striate cortex are selective for binocular disparity. His work indicated a role for non-visual pathways in the phenomenon of developmental plasticity during the postnatal "critical period". He also discovered that owls have independently evolved a system of binocular neurons like those found in mammals. His passing away is a major loss to the Australasian Neuroscience community.
Jack had a great love of nature and in his younger days he was a very keen climber. He and another climber were the first to climb the south-east face of Frenchman’s Cap in Tasmania. He was also the first to ascend Ball’s Pyramid, the world’s tallest volcanic stack off the coast of Lord Howe Island. Following his retirement, Jack continued to pursue his love of the Australian bush and Kimberley rock art which led him to the Tanzanian Plateau, where he discovered in 2012, a new species of African mountain boab, the Adansonia kilima.
Our deepest condolences go to Jack’s family and to his friends and colleagues.