“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.