PHILADELPHIADr. Tim Flannery, an internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, will receive the Academy of Natural Sciences' Joseph Leidy Award, the museum announced today. He is the first Australian to receive the award since it was established in 1923.
One of Australia's leading thinkers and writers, Flannery has discovered more than 30 new species of mammals, including living animals. He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific papers and many books on evolution, extinction and climate change, including the landmark The Future Eaters and The Weather Makers, which has been translated into more than 20 languages. In 2005, he was named Australian Humanist of the Year, and in 2007 he was honored as Australian of the Year.
Flannery will receive the Leidy Award and give a free public talk on "Deep Time and Nature Conservation: Lessons from Australasia" at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 16. The program is supported by the Raynier Institute & Foundation. To register, visit ansp.org/adult-programs/lectures.php.
Robert Peck, senior fellow and head of the Academy's medal selection committee, said Flannery was chosen because "he is so accomplished in so many areas," including many of the ones to which the Academy has been devoted for almost 200 years: vertebrate paleontology, mammalogy, evolutionary biology, and climate change.
"Dr. Flannery has a rare gift for communicating complex environmental issues in a way that makes them immediately understandable and compelling for the general public," said Academy President and CEO George Gephart. "His broad vision of evolution and its relevance to today's world has made him one of this generation's most influential thinkers, writers and speakers on environmental topics ranging from wildlife conservation to climate change."
The Joseph Leidy Award was established in 1923 to recognize excellence in publications, explorations, discoveries or research in the natural sciences. Leidy was a leading 19th-century anatomist, paleontologist, parasitologist, and president of the Academy of Natural Sciences. Previous recipients of the Leidy Award include Academy ornithologist James Bond (1975), biologist Dr. Edward O. Wilson (1979), and evolutionary biologists Drs. Peter and Rosemary Grant (1995).
Currently professor of science at Macquarie University in Sydney, Flannery spent a year teaching at Harvard University. He is a founding member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, a director of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, and the National Geographic Society's representative in Australasia. In 2007, he co-founded and was appointed chair of the Copenhagen Climate Council, a coalition of community, business and political leaders who came together to confront climate change.
A familiar voice on ABC Radio, NPR and the BBC for more than a decade, Flannery is also known to viewers of the Documentary Channel as writer-presenter on the series "The Future Eaters" (1998), "Wild Australasia" (2003), "Islands in the Sky" (1992) and "Bushfire" (1997). He is currently working on a book for spring 2011 publication about the history of life on earth.
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The Academy of Natural Sciences