Gene Kritsky, Ph.D., knew he hit it big time when he went to Kroger one day in 2004.
“This guy sees me shopping and recognized me from the feature article that was in that week’s PEOPLE magazine,” Kritsky said. “He ran over to the checkout line to buy a copy just so he could get my autograph.”
Kritsky, professor of biology, made national and international headlines long before the last cicada invasion hit Cincinnati when he made hundreds of media appearances including the Today Show. An internationally-known entomologist, Kritsky is one of the leading researchers of many insects including cicadas, tiger beetles and bee keeping history. He’s also an expert on Charles Darwin, the scientist best known for his theories on evolution.
“His great-grandson used to stay at my house,” said Kritsky. “I was even able to get him to do some lectures at the Mount when he was in town.”
Kritsky said the science bug bit him as a teenager when he read his first book on Darwin and evolution. He began questioning things about science and had more microscopes at home than he did in his classroom at school.
“I published my first paper as a freshman in college,” he said. “I’ve since written several books and just completed another one on beekeeping in ancient Egypt.”
Egypt is one country where Kritsky has been multiple times. He has led several immersion trips for Mount students over spring break. He also studied there years ago which provided for some colorful stories.
“I got locked in a tomb once, when I was a Fulbright Scholar in 1982,” Kritsky said. “It was only for about 45 minutes but we found some cool stuff including an alligator head and sarcophagus.”
These days the news has been buzzing with Kritsky’s discovery of a 13-year brood of cicada found in several counties east of Cincinnati in Clermont County. He also recently co-described what is thought to be the oldest cicada fossil.
“I’ve even been on a CD with cicada music,” he said. “I sat in the Motherhouse’s cemetery overnight with a microphone and recorded the singing of different species.”
Dr. Kritsky received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Entomology from the University of Illinois as well as a B.A. in biology from Indiana University. He serves as editor of American Entomologist.