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Henry Hulett

Henry Hulett

Henry Russel Hulett, 81, of Grass Valley died Saturday, March 9, in Grass Valley after a six-month battle with pulmonary fibrosis. In accordance with his wishes, there will be no services.



Dr. Hulett was born May 5, 1920. He received his master’s degree in chemistry at Oregon State University in 1942 and then went into the military, where his training included meteorology and electronic engineering at the graduate schools of the University of Chicago, Harvard and MIT.




After World War II, he spent time in the aerospace industry, where he was responsible for development of instrumentation for space vehicles, including the first Daylight Star Tracker, and for launching the first polar satellite, Discoverer, into orbit.

He then entered a doctoral program at Stanford University.

During his studies, he received a NASA grant to explore the possibility of life on Mars.

In 1971, he was invited to the NASA World Conference on the Origin of Life in New York to present his doctoral thesis on the origin of life.

He continued his work as a professor of biochemistry at Stanford, where he developed the “cell sorter” and published a number of papers in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, Nature and other scientific journals.

After his retirement, he moved to Talent, Ore., where he continued his studies independently. In 1990, he published a book that outlined his views on the origin of life, “Life in the Beginning.”

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Iva Lee Hulett of Grass Valley; and daughters Celia Hulett and Karen Hulett Brown, both of Grass Valley.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Nature Conservancy.


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