Bill Schaffer

Bill SchafferBill Schaffer passed away January 16 in Tucson, Arizona of complications from Covid-19. “He had recently retired from the University of Arizona, where he spent many years as a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. writes Bill Green. “He is survived by his wife Tanya, a son Michael, and a daughter Maggie. I will miss him greatly.”

Frank Seinsheimer adds, “In the midst of this pandemic, it seems ironic that the consummate biologist, William Schaffer, was felled by biology. I remember him living, eating and thinking biology. I couldn’t take a walk in the woods with him without him commenting on the fact that the forest was secondary growth. In Senior year Bill was working on his senior thesis, analyzing the size, shape and anatomy of ram horns. He needed to measure the force experienced by the horns when two rams butted each other. One afternoon I drove out and met him at the Yale farm. Who knew Yale even had a farm?

“Bill needed to measure the force of the impact when two rams butted each other for his thesis. He fitted the horns of two rams with pressure transducers. We then put two rams in a pen together. We waited for something to happen. It was like ‘Silent Night.’ All was calm. Then Bill and I each straddled a ram. We faced the rams toward each other. We shoved the rams back and forth a little to excite them. Finally, we got the rams to butt each other. Bill obtained the data he needed for his thesis.”