Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 137, Issue 2, pp 161–169 | Cite as

Remembering John M. Olson (1929–2017)

  • Robert E. BlankenshipEmail author
  • Daniel C. Brune
  • Jon C. Olson


Here we provide reflections of and a tribute to John M. Olson, a pioneering researcher in photosynthesis. We trace his career, which began at Wesleyan University and the University of Pennsylvania, and continued at Utrech in The Netherlands, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Odense University in Denmark. He was the world expert on pigment organization in the green photosynthetic bacteria, and discovered and characterized the first chlorophyll-containing protein, which has come to be known as the Fenna–Matthews–Olson (FMO) protein. He also thought and wrote extensively on the origin and early evolution of photosynthesis. We include personal comments from Brian Matthews, Raymond Cox, Paolo Gerola, Beverly Pierson and Jon Olson.


Green sulfur bacteria Chlorosome Fenna–Matthews–Olson protein FMO protein 

Supplementary material

11120_2018_489_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (140 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 140 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert E. Blankenship
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel C. Brune
    • 2
  • Jon C. Olson
    • 3
  1. 1.Departments of Biology and ChemistryWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biostatistics and EpidemiologyUniversity of Massachusetts, AmherstAmherstUSA

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