Paying tribute, the President of the Royal Society, Venki Ramakrishnan said:
'Robert May was an extraordinary man who drove great change in every domain he committed his talents to: in research as a theoretical ecologist, in politics as Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, and as President of the Royal Society. Bob was a natural communicator and used every available avenue to share his message that science and reason should lie at the heart of society, and he did so with a fervent pursuit that resonates with those of the Society’s founding members.'
Bob May was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1971. In 1996, he was knighted for services to science. He became one of the first people's peers in the House of Lords in 2001 and was appointed by Her Majesty The Queen to the Order of Merit in 2002. He has served in several high-profile roles, including President of the Royal Society and Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government. Major prizes include the Swedish Craaford Prize, the Japanese Blue Planet Prize, and the Swiss-Italian Balzan Prize. He was awarded the Royal Society’s Copley Medal for his seminal studies of interactions within and among biological populations that have reshaped our understanding of how species, communities and entire ecosystems respond to natural or human created disturbance.