Vincent Gaston Dethier (20 February 1915 - 8 September 1993) was an award-winning American physiologist and entomologist. Considered a leading expert in his field, he was a pioneer in the study of insect-plant interactions and wrote over 170 academic papers and 15 science books. He also wrote natural history books for non-specialists, as well as short stories, essays and children’s books.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, one of the four children of Jean Vincent and Marguerite (Lally) Dethier, he received his undergraduate degree and PhD from Harvard University. His first post-doctoral position was as a biology instructor at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio where he taught from 1939-1941.
He joined the Army Air Corps during WWII, serving part of his time in Africa and Middle East. He wrote his first book, Chemical Insect Attractants and Repellents, in the bomb bay of a B-25. He worked in the Army Chemical Corps as a research physiologist until 1946, and at the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland in a long series of experiments analyzing the effects of chemicals on the chemosensors of flies.
At war end, he taught at Johns Hopkins University from 1947-1958. He was a professor of zoology and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania from 1958-1967 and then held the Class of 1977 Chair as Professor of Biology at Princeton University.
From 1975 until his death in 1993, he was the Gilbert L. Woodside Professor of Zoology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he was the founding director of its Neuroscience and Behavior Program and chaired the Chancellor’s Commission on Civility.
He was a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and the recipient of the Entomological Society of America’s 1967 Founders’ Memorial Award, as well as the John Burroughs Medal in 1993 for distinguished nature writing.
In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.
The Elephant Whisperer is a heartwarming, exciting, funny, and sometimes sad account of Anthony's experiences with these huge yet sympathetic creatures. Set against the background of life on an African game reserve, with unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, it is a delightful book that will appeal to animal lovers and adventurous souls everywhere.