Obit: Irving Diamond
The Chronicle Online: The Independent Daily at Duke University
From Staff and Wire Reports
17 September 2004
Irving Diamond, a retired James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and a prominent researcher in human and animal sensory systems, died Tuesday at his Durham home. He was 81.
Diamond, born in Chicago Sept. 17, 1922, received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago. After serving from 1943 to 1946 in the U.S. Army, Diamond joined the University of Chicago faculty and taught there for a decade before coming to Duke in 1958.
“He was an important figure in neuropsychology,” said George Washington Ivey Professor Emeritus of New Testament in the Divinity School Moody Smith, a friend and colleague to Diamond. “He loved intellectual controversy and was always open minded.”
The author or co-author of more than 100 scientific papers, including chapters in 11 books, Diamond focused his research on the evolution of the primate brain and the structure and function of the neocortex.
Diamond’s teaching methods included requiring students to analyze the original texts of great pioneers in the fields of evolution, genetics, embryology, neurophysiology and experimental psychology. “He was kind of a renaissance man—he was a very good teacher and his interests went beyond his discipline,” Smith said.
Diamond was named to the National Academy of Sciences in 1982 and he received the distinguished scientific contribution award from the American Psychological Association for having made a unique contribution, and one that has changed the direction of his field.