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Science & Technology

In vitro fertilization pioneer Robert Edwards dies, aged 87

British Nobel laureate, Robert Edwards, has passed away after a long struggle with illness. Edwards was awarded the accolade in 2010 for the development of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Cambridge University announced the death of scientist Robert G. Edwards, one of its long-time faculty members and a researcher who pioneered the field of human reproduction.

"It is with deep sadness that the family announces that Professor Sir Robert Edwards, Nobel prize winner, scientist and co-pioneer of IVF, passed away peacefully in his sleep," Cambridge said in a statement on Wednesday.

Edwards began his research in the field of fertilization in the 1950s, but it wasn't until 1969 that he was able to successfully fertilize a human egg in a test tube.

His ongoing research eventually led to scientific breakthroughs that "had an immense impact throughout the world," Cambridge said.

Alongside colleague Patrick Steptoe, he founded the first IVF center at Cambridge University in the 1960s. In 1978, Edwards' team delivered the first test-tube baby, Louise Brown.

Robert G. Edwards was born in 1925 in Cambridge, England. After completing a degree in biology at the University of Wales in Bangor and at Edinburgh University in Scotland, he went on to a position as a staff scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research in London in the 1950s.

kms/ccp (AFP, Reuters)