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John Maynard Smith
John Maynard Smith.jpg
Born (1920-01-06)6 January 1920
Died 19 April 2004(2004-04-19) (aged 84)
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Cambridge and University College London
Known for Game theory
Evolution of sex
Signalling theory
Awards Balzan Prize (1991)
Copley Medal (1999)
Kyoto Prize (2001)
Linnean Society of London's Darwin-Wallace Medal (2008)
Fellow of the Royal Society (1977)
Scientific career
Fields Evolutionary biologist and geneticist
Institutions University of Sussex
Doctoral advisor J.B.S. Haldane
Doctoral students Andrew Pomiankowski
Sean Nee

John Maynard Smith, FRS (6 January 1920 – 19 April 2004) was a British theoretical evolutionary biologist and geneticist. Originally an aeronautical engineer during the Second World War, he then took a second degree in genetics under the well-known biologist J.B.S. Haldane. Maynard Smith was instrumental in the application of game theory to evolution and theorized on other problems such as the evolution of sex and signalling theory.


He won most of the awards available to scientists:

Maynard Smith has an Erdős number of four.


  • Maynard Smith J. 1968. Mathematical ideas in biology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN
  • Maynard Smith J. 1974. Models in ecology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN
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