Dr. John B. Calhoun, 78, a Bethesda ecologist who saw in the bleak effects of overpopulation on rats and mice a model for the future of the human race, died of a stroke after a heart attack Sept. 7, while on vacation in Hanover, N. H. In a 40-year career, mostly at the National Institute of Mental Health, he demonstrated that as population density increased, social behavior degenerated.
Among other findings, he developed the concept of universal autism -- in which all members of the last generation of mice in an increasingly crowded environment are incapable of the social behavior that would allow them to produce the next generation. He also described a phenomenon in which some mice become "beautiful ones," maintaining their physical appearance, but doing little else, as the population swells.
After studies on Norway rats at the Johns Hopkins University, and on mice at the Jackson Memorial Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, he joined the mental health institute in 1954. In 1963, he organized the unit for research on behavioral systems at the Laboratory of Brain Evolution and Behavior, a division of the NIMH. He continued as chief of the unit until his retirement retired in 1986.
M. Abbott Van Nostrand, 84, who for 38 years served as president and chief executive of Samuel French Inc., the largest licenser of plays in the English-speaking world, died Wednesday at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in Manhattan.
From 1952 until his retirement in 1990, he presided over the agency, which publishes the works of many major playwrights and licenses the works of thousands more to professional theaters, amateur groups and high school drama clubs throughout the world.
Gerd Bucerius, 89, the law-trained publisher of the respected weekly newspaper Die Zeit who defended Jews during the Third Reich, died of an undisclosed cause Friday in Frankfurt, Germany.