You may not recognize the name Harold Morowitz, but the Poughkeepsie-born biophysicist was credited with winning one of the biggest court cases of the 1980s.

Morowitz was born on December 4, 1927 in Poughkeepsie. He went on to study at Yale and achieved a master’s in physics and a doctorate in biophysics by the age of 23. According to The Scientist, Morowitz joined the faculty at Yale just four years later as a professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry. The Poughkeepsie native continued as a member of the Yale faculty for over 20 years, becoming an authority on the origins of life and thermodynamics.

In 1982 Morowitz became involved in the highly publicized case of McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education. The historic lawsuit was filed against the State of Arkansas by citizens who believed that the mandatory teaching of creationism in public school was a violation of the separation of church and state.

Morowitz famously testified as an expert on the origins of life, proving that creationist theory has no basis in science. The biophysicist's testimony was credited for the landmark decision that stopped schools from forcing teachers to include creationism in their science curriculum.

Survived by his wife and four sons, Morowitz passed away on March 22 in Falls Church, Virginia at the age of 88.