Dr. Gene R. Kritsky, a professor of biology and dean of the School of Behavioral and Natural Sciences at Mount St. Joseph University, was elected as an ESA Fellow in 2019. He is internationally recognized for his research on periodical cicadas and the history of science.
Kritsky was born in Minot, North Dakota, in 1953. He attended Indiana University from 1971 until 1974, where he studied under Dr. Frank N. Young Jr. He entered the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois as a university Fellow in 1974. He completed his M.S. in entomology in 1976 and his Ph.D. a year later in 1977, working with Dr. Lewis J. Stannard Jr. on the taxonomy of the Enicocephalidae, mapping the broods of periodical cicadas, and studying the history of science. He joined the Department of Biology at Tri-State University (now Trine University) as assistant professor of biology in 1977 and was promoted to associate professor in 1980. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Egypt from 1981 to 1982, where he taught at Minya University and researched the use of insects as a hieroglyphic motif. He accepted the position of associate professor of biology at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati in 1983, becoming chair of biology in 1985, and was promoted to professor of biology in 1987. He was appointed dean of the School of Behavioral and Natural Sciences in 2016.
Kritsky's research interests include the evolution of the broods of periodical cicadas, the history of apiculture, Charles Darwin and his contributions to entomology, insects in art history, and the distribution of tiger beetles. His 246 publications include 10 books. His 1999 prediction of a four-year acceleration of Brood X in 2000 proved true and permitted the verification of a self-reproducing, off-cycle cicada emergence. Kritsky also discovered a previously unrecognized brood of 13-year cicadas in Ohio and Kentucky in 2004. His ESA publication on Darwin's Madagascan hawk moth prediction was selected by several organizations as one of the top zoology news stories of 1993. Kritsky's book The Quest for the Perfect Hive challenged the beekeeping industry to re-examine hive designs and practices to develop new innovations that could help deal with the many problems facing beekeeping today. His second book on apicultural history, The Tears of Re, was the first standalone review of beekeeping in ancient Egypt.
Kritsky served as editor-in-chief of American Entomologist for 15 years. He presented the ESA Founders' Memorial Award Lecture in 2012 and was elected as an Honorary Member of ESA in 2017. Kritsky is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Indiana Academy of Science, and he has received Distinguished Scholar Awards from both the Indiana Academy of Science and from Mount St. Joseph University.
His wife, Jessee Smith, is an artist and metalsmith whose insect-inspired designs have been featured in juried shows and exhibited at ESA meetings. She received the Mount St. Joseph Distinguished Art Alumni Award, the John Nartker Medal, in 2019.
(updated September 2019)