Dean Peter Crane Wins Prestigious International Prize for Biology
Peter Crane, the Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. Dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), has been awarded the 2014 International Prize for Biology administered by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for his work on the evolutionary history of plants.
The honor, which comes with a prize of 10 million yen, is awarded annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of research in fundamental biology.
Crane, who is professor of botany at F&ES, and also holds appointments in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Geology and Geophysics, will receive the award in December during a ceremony in Tokyo that will be attended by their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko.
Over more than three decades, Crane’s work has integrated data from living plants with new discoveries from the paleontological record to provide critical insights into the early history of plants and how they shaped the modern biosphere.
“To receive this prestigious award is a great personal and professional honor, that also reflects the many contributions of my long-term collaborators” said Crane. “This recognition affirms a principle that has guided so much of my work: To understand the present one must also know the past. Indeed, if we hope to truly understand and better manage the world of plants, we must know more about their history.”
Created in 1985, the International Prize for Biology commemorates the 60-year reign of Japanese Emperor Showa and his longtime devotion to biological research. The 30th anniversary of the award is dedicated to the field of Systematic Biology and Taxonomy.
“This recognition affirms a principle that has guided so much of my work: To understand the present one must also know the past. ”
— Peter Crane
Crane has been Dean at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies since 2009. From 1999 to 2006, he was the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, one of the largest and most influential botanical gardens in the world. Prior to that, he was director of the Field Museum in Chicago, where he was responsible for the museum’s vast collections and associated scientific programs.
His research is focused on the diversity of plant life, from its origins and fossil history to its current status. His work has helped advance the scientific understanding of the timing and pattern of early angiosperm (flowering plant) evolution, contributed insights into the early evolution of plants on land, and helped stimulate research on the fossil history and interrelationships among major groups of seed plants.
He has also actively encouraged practice and policy for the conservation and sustainable use of plant diversity.
Crane is a fellow of the Royal Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also a foreign associate of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and a member of the German Academy Leopoldina. In 2004, he was knighted in the U.K. for services to horticulture and conservation.
He currently serves on the Boards of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the World Wildlife Fund, The Field Museum, the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation.
Dean Crane is the second Yale recipient of the International Prize for Biology. Professor Nancy Ann Moran, the former William H. Fleming Professor of Biology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, received the award in 2010.
Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles posted prior to July 1, 2020, refer to the School's name at that time.