Monday, May 4, 2009

Dr. Peter Raven will Speak at Entomological Society of America's Annual Meeting

This year’s Annual Meeting will feature four plenary speakers—one for each day of the meeting—instead of only one. Dr. Peter H. Raven, one of the world’s leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity, is scheduled to speak Wednesday, December 16 about biodiversity and a sustainable environment.

Dr. Raven became interested in insects and plants when he was a seven-year-old boy growing up in San Francisco. Today, he is president of the Missouri Botanical Garden and George Engelmann Professor of Botany 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 38 years, Dr. Raven has headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he has nurtured to become a world-class center for botanical research, education, and horticulture display. During this period, the garden has become a leader in botanical research in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and North America.

Described by TIME Magazine as a “Hero for the Planet,” Dr. Raven champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants and animals and is a leading advocate for building a sustainable environment. In recognition of his work in science and conservation, Dr. Raven has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan; the Volvo Environment Prize; the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement; the Sasakawa Environment Prize; the International Cosmos Prize, Osaka; and the BBVA Prize for Ecology and Conservation, Madrid (2008). Earlier, he held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.

In 2001, Dr. Raven received the National Medal of Science, the highest award for scientific accomplishment in the United States. Dr. Raven 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, the American Philosophical Society, and the academies of science of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, China, Denmark, Edinburgh (U.K.), 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). He was the first chair of the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation, a private, congressionally-chartered organization that funds joint research with the independent countries of the former Soviet Union. In 2004, he delivered the keynote address at the International Congress of Entomology in Brisbane, Australia.

Dr. Raven is co-editor of the Flora of China, a joint Chinese-American international project that is leading to a contemporary, 50-volume account on all the plants of China, scheduled for completion in 2012. He 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 sixth edition.

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. While a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University with Paul R. Ehrlich, he developed the theory of co-evolution, and also carried out extensive studies of pollination systems in the plant family Onagraceae, his specialty. Raven has been awarded a number of honorary degrees by universities in the United States and throughout the world, most recently from Yale and Michigan State University.

For more information about Dr. Raven and the Missouri Botanical Garden, visit

Click here for information on the other Plenary Speakers.