Photo: Denise Applewhite/Princeton University
SARA MCLANAHAN, a sociologist whose personal experiences inspired her to pursue innovative studies of single motherhood, died Dec. 31, 2021. She was 81. McLanahan was raising three children on her own in the 1970s when she returned to college to complete her bachelor’s degree and begin graduate school, according to a Department of Sociology obituary. Her early work focused on health care, but she soon transitioned to the underexplored subject of single parents. At Princeton, she co-founded the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal study that began in 1998 and has supplied data for more than 900 published articles.

Photo: Ron Przysucha/U.S. Department of State
JACQUES R. FRESCO, a biochemist who led pioneering research in RNA and DNA structure, died Dec. 5, 2021, at age 93. Fresco began studying the chemistry of nucleic acids as a graduate student, completing his Ph.D. work the year before the Watson-Crick model was published. At Princeton, he mentored generations of scientists, including Nobel laureate Tomas Lindahl, a former postdoctoral researcher in his lab. Fresco spent 53 years on the faculty, teaching and conducting research in chemistry, biochemical sciences, and molecular biology. He transferred to emeritus status in 2013 as the Damon B. Pfeiffer Professor in the Life Sciences.