Patrick Bateson
Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson

(1938-03-31)31 March 1938
Died1 August 2017(2017-08-01) (aged 79)[2]
EducationWestminster School[5]
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge (BA, PhD)
Known forBateson's cube
AwardsFrink Medal (2014)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge
Stanford University[2]
ThesisThe Development of Filial and Avoidance behaviour in the domestic chicken (1963)
Doctoral advisorRobert Hinde[2]
Doctoral studentsMark H. Johnson[3][4]

Sir Paul Patrick Gordon Bateson, FRS[6] (31 March 1938 – 1 August 2017) was an English biologist with interests in ethology and phenotypic plasticity.[1][7] Bateson was a professor at the University of Cambridge and served as president of the Zoological Society of London from 2004 to 2014.[8][9][10][11][12]


Bateson was educated at Westminster School and King's College, Cambridge[5] where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in zoology in 1960 and a PhD for research on animal behaviour supervised by Robert Hinde.[13][2][14][11]

Career and research

Bateson was a biologist who specialised in researching the behaviour of animals and how it is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Patrick was a world authority on imprinting in birds — the process of learning to recognise their parents and members of their own species — and his work led to new principles in behavioural development.[15]

Bateson devised original experiments that showed how characteristics of imprinting depend on the bird's early life experiences. Bateson's investigation of learning in birds has led to greater understanding of the neural basis of memory. He had an interest in how developmental and behavioural processes influence evolution.[15]

Bateson was concerned with the ethics of using animals in research and the analysis of animal pain and suffering. This led to a study exploring the effects hunting with hounds had on red deer, an inquiry into dog breeding, and a review of the use of animals in research.[15]

Previous academic positions include a Harkness Fellowship at Stanford University[2][16] and ten years as head of the Cambridge sub-department of Animal Behaviour. Bateson served five years as biological secretary to the Royal Society and fifteen years as provost of King's College, Cambridge, retiring from both in 2003.[6] He retired from his Cambridge Chair in 2005.

Bateson published on such topics as ethology, animal welfare, behavioral development and evolution.[2]

Selected publications

Awards and honours

Bateson was knighted for services to science in the 2003 Birthday Honours list. He received an Honorary Doctor of Science (ScD) degree from the University of St Andrews[17] and an Honorary Fellowship from Queen Mary University of London.[18]

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1983.[15] In 2014 he received the Frink Medal from the Zoological Society of London.[19]

Personal life

Patrick Bateson's grandfather's cousin was the geneticist William Bateson. Patrick's daughter is Melissa Bateson, also a professor of ethology, at Newcastle University.[20] Patrick Bateson was an atheist.[21] He died on 1 August 2017 at the age of 79.[2][5][22]


  1. ^ a b Patrick Bateson publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Laland, Kevin N. (2017). "Patrick Bateson (1938–2017) Biologist who unravelled how animal behaviour develops". Nature. 548 (7668): 394. doi:10.1038/548394a. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 28836598.
  3. ^ Johnson, Mark H. (1985). An analysis of the neural systems underlying filial preference behaviour in the domestic chick. (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 59349905. EThOS[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Neurotree - Patrick Bateson". Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Anon (2017). "Bateson, Prof. Sir (Paul) Patrick (Gordon)". Who's Who (online Oxford University Press ed.). Oxford: A & C Black. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.6789. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. ^ a b Laland, Kevin N.; Rose, Steven (2019). "Sir Patrick Bateson FRS. 31 March 1938—1 August 2017". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 66: 25–51. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2018.0040. ISSN 0080-4606.
  7. ^ McCabe, Brian J. (2017). "Sir Patrick Bateson (1938–2017)". Science. 358 (6360): 174. Bibcode:2017Sci...358..174M. doi:10.1126/science.aap9754. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 29026034. S2CID 206664775.
  8. ^ "Career profiles: How I came to study animal behaviour". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  9. ^ Macfarlane, Alan (2007). "Patrick Bateson interviewed by Alan Macfarlane".
  10. ^ Patrick Bateson publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  11. ^ a b Anon (2017). "Professor Sir Patrick Bateson, FRS". University of Cambridge.
  12. ^ Bateson, Patrick; Barker, David; Clutton-Brock, Timothy; Deb, Debal; D'Udine, Bruno; Foley, Robert A.; Gluckman, Peter; Godfrey, Keith; Kirkwood, Tom; Lahr, Marta Mirazón; McNamara, John; Metcalfe, Neil B.; Monaghan, Patricia; Spencer, Hamish G.; Sultan, Sonia E. (2004). "Developmental plasticity and human health". Nature. 430 (6998): 419–421. Bibcode:2004Natur.430..419B. doi:10.1038/nature02725. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 15269759. S2CID 4374045. Closed access icon
  13. ^ Bateson, Paul Patrick Gordon (1963). The Development of Filial and Avoidance behaviour in the domestic chicken. (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC 500380329. EThOS Archived from the original on 18 November 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  14. ^ Bateson, Patrick (2015). "Patrick Bateson". Current Biology. 25 (5): R180–R181. Bibcode:2015CBio...25.R180B. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.12.040. ISSN 0960-9822. PMID 25897438.
  15. ^ a b c d Anon (2017). "Professor Patrick Bateson FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 11 November 2016. Retrieved 24 August 2017.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

  16. ^ "Patrick Bateson profile". Archived from the original on 8 September 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2004.
  17. ^ Honorary degrees Archived 5 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 18 February 2017.
  18. ^ Honorary Fellows Archived 27 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 18 February 2017.
  19. ^ "Winners of the ZSL Frink Medal for British Zoologists" (PDF). ZSL. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  20. ^ Davies, Nick (January 2018). "Sir Patrick Bateson 1938–2017". Ibis. 160 (1): 253–254. doi:10.1111/ibi.12550.
  21. ^ "A confirmed agnostic, he [Bateson] was converted to atheism after attending a dinner where he tried to converse with a woman who was a creationist. "For many years what had been good enough for Darwin was good enough for me. Not long after that dreadful dinner, Richard Dawkins wrote to me to ask whether I would publicly affirm my atheism. I could see no reason why not." " Lewis Smith, 'Science has second thoughts about life', The Times (London), 1 January 2008, Pg. 24.
  22. ^ Martin, Paul (14 August 2017). "Sir Patrick Bateson obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
Academic offices Preceded byBernard Williams Provost of King's College, Cambridge 1988-2003 Succeeded byJudith Mayhew