Dr. Peter H. Raven, Ph.D., Botanist

President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden
George Engelmann Professor of Botany Emeritus, Washington University in St. Louis
National Medal of Science, 2001

“The encouragement of students to become scientists and engineers is one of the most important functions of our community. By given them the opportunity to attend AAAS meetings and mix with professionals, AJAS goes a long way toward encouraging them to take this direction in their lives. Also, the chance to mix with other students with common interests can be a powerful stimulus to taking up a meaningful scientific career. I have greatly enjoyed the AJAS breakfasts that I have been able to join at the meetings, and to have the chance to exchange views with the bright young students who attend.

”I have served as an AJAS Board member in the past and will be pleased to continue helping to look for sponsors to enable students to travel to the annual meeting. I am extremely enthusiastic about the potential of the organization to inspire and assist in the development of young scientists. The association of students and their teachers in promoting, teaching, and implementing real research programs would certainly be encouraged by these activities, which definitely deserve the investment of time, resources, and money.”

Peter Raven, a leading botanist and advocate of conservation and biodiversity with a notably international outlook, is 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 more than 39 years, Dr. Raven headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured to become a world-class center for botanical research, education, and horticulture display. During this period, the Garden became a leader in botanical research and conservation in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and North America.

Dr. Raven first realized in the mid 1960s that the rapid growth of the human population, consumption, and the spread of polluting technologies were threatening biological diversity to a degree that had not been realized earlier. He soon became an outspoken advocate of the need for conservation throughout the world based on efforts to attain sustainability and social justice everywhere. He was described by TIME magazine as a "Hero for the Planet," and has received numerous prizes and 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; and the BBVA Prize for Ecology and Conservation, Madrid. Earlier in his career, Dr. Raven 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. 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 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 early 2013.

Dr. Raven has authored 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. Married to Dr. Patricia Duncan Raven, he has four children.




Return to Top