Professor Paul R. Ehrlich ForMemRS
Bing Professor of Population Studies, Department of Biology, Stanford University
Paul Ehrlich is one of the most significant scientists of our time. His pioneering studies on the structure, dynamics, and genetics of butterfly populations have had a profound influence on applied ecology. His work with Peter Raven (ForMemRS) on co-evolution among species is now common currency in both ecology and the social sciences. His investigations into the pathways by which biodiversity loss affects diversity within species and at the level of genetic variability have been enormously influential. In addition, he has not only pioneered the formal study of the interface of population, consumption, resource-use, and the state of the natural environment, he has also clarified their interrelationships for the general public. Those writings have had a profound influence on those mainstream economists who have developed the concept of sustainable development. His writings on cultural evolution, especially with respect to environmental ethics are likely to have an equally significant influence on scientific thinking and public policy. If his influence on ecology and applied evolutionary biology has been profound, his influence on ecological economics has been of no less significance. Ehrlich has brought ecological economics into the mainstream by his tireless engagement with economists concerned to bring two historically antagonistic disciplines together.