Peter H. Raven, Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and one of the world’s leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity, received from the President of the United States in December the National Medal of Science, the highest award for scientific accomplishment in this country.
For three decades, Dr. Raven has headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured to a world-class center for botanical research, education and horticulture display. Under Dr. Raven’s leadership, the Missouri Botanical Garden has become a leader in botanical research in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, with strong programs in North America as well. The Garden’s education program in the St. Louis region reaches more than 100,000 students each year and provides professional development for teachers. The splendid horticultural displays attract more than 750,000 visitors to the Garden annually, including tourists to St. Louis from around the United States and the world. He is also the Engleman Professor of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis.
Described by Time magazine as a “Hero for the Planet,” Dr. Raven champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants and is a leading advocate for conservation and a sustainable environment. In recognition of his work in science and conservation, Dr. Raven is the recipient of numerous other prizes and awards, including most recently the Society for Conservation Biology Distinguished Service Award and the Peter H. Raven Award for Scientific Outreach, which was created to honor him.
He also received the prestigious International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan; Environmental Prize of the Institute de la Vie; Volvo Environment Prize; the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and the Sasakawa Environment Prize. He has held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.
Dr. Raven is the Chairman of the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. He is Chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest organization of professional scientists in the world. He was a member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He served for 12 years as Home Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, is a member of the academies of science in Argentina, China, India, Italy, Russia, and several other countries; belongs to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and was inducted into the American Academy of Achievement. He was first Chair of the U. S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation, a government-established organization that funds joint research with the independent countries of the former Soviet Union.
In August 1999, Dr. Raven brought to St. Louis the XVI International Botanical Congress, a global gathering of more than 5,000 botanists. Dr. Raven presided at the meeting and received the Engler Medal, in gold, for distinguished lifetime service to plant taxonomy. The meeting, held once every six years, last occurred in North America in 1969.
Dr. Raven is Co-editor of the Flora of China, a joint Chinese-American international project that is leading to a contemporary account on all the plants of China. He has written numerous books and publications, both popular and scientific, including Biology of Plants (coauthored with Ray Evert and Susan Eichhorn, Worth Publishers, Inc., New York), the internationally best-selling textbook in botany, now in its sixth edition, and Environment (Saunders College Publishing, Pennsylvania), a leading textbook on the environment.
Dr. Raven received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1960 after completing his undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. He has received honorary degrees from universities in this country and throughout the world.
March 2002 (N)