Neurobiologist and vision expert Denis Baylor dies at 82 | Information Center

An inspiring teacher

Baylor was born January 30, 1940 in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and grew up in Galesburg, Illinois. He graduated from Knox College in 1961 and Yale Medical School in 1965. He served on the faculty of the University of Colorado Medical School. before moving to Stanford in 1974.

He became a full professor in 1978, was chair of the department of neurobiology from 1992 to 1995, and retired in 2001. Before and after his retirement, he served on several scientific advisory boards and was a member of the Institute of Wu Tsai neuroscience.

His colleagues remembered him as an inspiring teacher who took pride in the work of his students and set the standard for course delivery.

Brian Wandell, PhD, professor of psychology and Isaac and Madeline Stein family teacher, who welcomed Baylor into his class every year, said, “His experiments were wonderful, as were his lectures. He was the most accurate speaker we have ever seen! Every word, every graphic, every thought carefully chosen and organized.

He was the most accurate speaker we have ever seen! Every word, every graphic, every thought carefully chosen and organized.

He was the most accurate speaker we have ever seen! Every word, every graphic, every thought carefully chosen and organized. Newsome remembers dropping by the office to check his mail one Saturday morning and hearing a voice in a nearby conference room. It was Baylor.

“I said, ‘Denis, what are you doing?’ And he said, “I have my neurobiology class on Monday afternoon. I said, ‘Denis, you’ve been giving this talk on phototransduction for 10 years. Can’t you look at your notes and go give the lecture? “recalls Newsome.

“He crossed his arms and looked at me very seriously and said, ‘Yes, I could do that, Bill, and it would be very effective. And somewhere in the middle I would make a mistake and say Baylor, you Fuck it, and it’s your fault for not practicing this trick.

Helping students “get a clear understanding of what we knew about transduction was his life’s intellectual passion,” Newsome said.

Football enthusiast, avid golfer

While his academic rigor was legendary, Baylor was also remembered as a down-to-earth Midwesterner with a passion for Stanford football and, in retirement, his game of golf.

“Stanford football was a big deal,” laughed his wife, Eileen Baylor. “He used to go to pre-match briefings, if you can believe that. It’s true! Two hours in advance” on the kickoff.

For a time, Baylor’s hobby was woodworking and “he made a lot of furniture,” his wife recalls.

He also loved golf, she said. “He approached golf as he approached his job. He kept a diary every time we played. He was “a real scientist. We are talking about years of newspapers. It’s not just a newspaper.

Eileen Baylor said she was happy to be with her husband on the day he died, playing the game he loved with her and a friend.

“We were on the 12th hole and Denis was walking when he collapsed and couldn’t be revived,” she said.

Besides his wife, Baylor is survived by his brothers Michael and Stephen Baylor; sons Denis and Michael Baylor; daughter Michele Engelke; and nine grandchildren.

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