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John Barton, Professor Emeritus Of Law, Dead At 72

Publication Date: 
August 06, 2009
Stanford Report

The Stanford University News Service published this obituary for Professor John H. Barton:

John H. Barton, a retired Stanford law professor who spent 40 years at the university, died Aug. 3 at Stanford Hospital. He was 72, and had suffered a brain injury in a bicycle accident.

Barton devoted his academic career to questions at the intersection of science and the law. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, his scholarship focused on international law, ranging from national defense and the distribution of intellectual property rights across the developed and undeveloped world to improving the health of billions of the world’s poorest people.


"John Barton was far ahead of his time in seeing the significance of and for the law of the new global economy and the development of new technology," said Larry Kramer, the dean of the Stanford Law School. "He was a pioneer and intellectual leader in some of today’s most important fields, such as healthcare, intellectual property and the environment. He was also a wonderful teacher, colleague and friend, and he will be sorely missed."


"John was a wonderful colleague," said Hank Greely of the law school faculty. "He had a rigorous scientific mind that he applied to all kinds of problems, scholarly and otherwise. He loved figuring out how new technologies and old societies would affect each other, but he was always driven not just to understand, but to make the world a better place – safer from nuclear war, safer from the ravages of disease. His too-early death is truly a tragedy."