Professor Richard Fortey (Doctor of Science)

Thursday 17 July, 11am

Press comment

"The University of Leicester is probably the leading centre for palaeontology in Britain right now, so it is a particular honour to be recognised by this university above all others. Leicester’s Professor Sylvester Bradley was a ‘founding father of the Palaeontological Association, which is Europe’s most successful society for this branch of science. So I think of the degree as a celebration of the discipline to which I have devoted much of my life."


Formerly Grade l Merit Researcher at the Natural History Museum

1965-8. Kings College Cambridge, reading Natural Sciences. Colleg Prize 1968, Harkness Prize for Geology 1968.

1968. B.A. (1st Class, Natural Sciences) Cantab.

1968-1970. Research under Prof. H.B.Whittington on palaeontology and palaeoecology of Ordovician of Spitsbergen.

1971 PhD, Cambridge

1970-1977. Joined British Museum initially as a Research Fellow, then as Senior Scientific Officer.

1977-1978. Howley Visiting Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, with responsibility for teaching advanced stratigraphy and palaeontology.

1978-1988. Returned to British Museum as Principal Scientific Officer, then (1986) promoted to Senior Principal Scientific Officer, the highest research grade.

1978-84. Served Palaeontological Association as Editor, Publications secretary and Vice President.

1985. Organised meeting on Fossil and Tectonics at the Geological Society (with L.R.M.Cocks)

1986. Awarded Wollaston Fund of Geological Society, their senior fund.

1986. ScD Cambridge

1988. Appointed to editorial board of Paleobiology

1989. Titular Member, Subcomission on Ordovician stratigraphy

1989. Member of the Geological Sciences Committee of the Natural Environment Research Council, concerned with awarding Research Grants, Studentships and Post-doctoral fellowships.

1991. Vice President, Geological Society of London.

1994-6. President, Palaeontological Association

1996 Organised international symposium on arthropod phylogeny (with Richard Thomas) at the Natural History Museum

1996 Lyell medal, Geological Society of London

1996 Lansdowne Visitor and Lecturer at the University of Victoria, Canada

1997 Fellow of the Royal Society

1998. Committee for the Public Understanding of Sciences (COPUS) and their Awards Committee

1999. Appointed to Board of Reviewing Editors, Science (N.Y.).

2000 -Visiting Professor of Paleobiology, Oxford University; Judge: Rhone Poulenc Book Prize.

2000. President of Geology Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science

2001. Appointed to Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB)

2001 Frink medal, Zoological Society of London (their senior medal).

2001 Council Royal Society

2002. Collier Chair Professor in the Public Understanding of Science, Bristol University

2003. Lewis Thomas Prize, Rockefeller University

2006. President Geological Society of London.

2006. Zoological Medal Linnean Society of London

2006. Michael Faraday Prize, Royal Society, for Science Communication

Honorary doctorates: Open University, St Andrew’s University, Birmingham University

I have also served on the Councils of the Systematics Association, Royal Society, Palaeontographical Society (currently President) and on the Stratigraphy Committee of the Geological Society of London. Editorial Boards: Terra Nova, Palaeontographica

ltaliana, Historical Biology. Biological Proceedings of the Royal Society of London

Book Prizes: Natural World Book of the Year award, 1994, for "The Hidden Landscape"; runner-up The Sir Peter Kent Conservation Book Prize.

Shortlisted for the Rhone Poulenc science writing prize 1998 for "Life: An unauthorized biography" as was “Earth: an intimate history” for the Aventis Prize, 2005. 'Life' was also listed as one of the ten "Books of the Year" by the New York Times.

"Trilobite! Eyewitness to evolution" was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in

2001 (The top non fiction prize).

2008 “Dry Store Room No 1” published

2011 “Survivors” published

2012 TV series Survivors first shown BBC4

2013 The Secret Life of Rock Pools shown on BBC4

2014 Fossil Wonderlands shown on BBC4

200 scientific papers on trilobites, Ordovician stratigraphy and geography.

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