Dr. Peter H. Raven

The sixth William L. Brown Award for Excellence in Genetic Resource Conservation was awarded to Dr. Peter H. Raven, president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden and George Engelmann Professor of Botany Emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition, Dr. Raven is a Trustee of the National Geographic Society and Chairman of the Society's Committee for Research and Exploration. For nearly 39 years, Dr. Raven has headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he has nurtured to become an international, world-class center for botanical research, education, and horticulture display.

In the early 1960s, Dr. Raven spent several years studying folk taxonomy in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, thus beginning a lifetime of appreciation of the relationship between people and plants. He soon realized that the rapid growth of the human population, the vast consumption of natural resources, and the spread of polluting technologies were threatening biological diversity throughout the world. He has devoted a major proportion of his time since to the field of plant conservation and sustainability.  He has received many awards, including the International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan; Volvo Environment Prize; the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement; the Sasakawa Environment Prize; Cosmos Prize, and the BBVA Prize for Ecology and Conservation, Madrid, and the Friendship Award by the government of China

In 2001, Dr. Raven received the National Medal of Science, the highest award for scientific accomplishment in the United States. He has been president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and a number of other organizations. He served for 12 years as Home Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, to which he was elected in 1977. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Philosophical Society, of the academies of science in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, China, Denmark, Georgia, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, the U.K. (the Royal Society), and of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS).

Dr. Raven has written numerous books and publications, both popular and scientific, including Biology of Plants (co-authored with Ray Evert and Susan Eichhorn, W. H. Freeman and Company/Worth Publishers, New York), the internationally best-selling textbook in botany, of which the seventh edition appeared in 2007; and Environment (co-authored with Linda Berg, Wiley & Sons, New York), a leading textbook on the environment, now in its seventh edition (2009).

Dr. Raven received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1960 after completing his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been awarded a number of honorary degrees by universities in the United States and throughout the world.