Columbia University, 2004-2005
Francisco J. Ayala, a biologist at the University of California at Irvine, is noted for his contributions to population and evolution genetics. He has made singular contributions not only to his discipline but to education, philosophy, ethics, religion and national science policy. His many scientific achievements include developing a new method for measuring population adaptation, elucidation of the role of genetic polymorphism in determining population adaptation and determining the conditions that allow the coexistence of species competing for limited resources. In addition, Ayala has served on the governing council of the National Academy of Sciences and as president and chairman of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a chief witness in the creationist trials in Arkansas in 1981 that prevented religion from being taught as science in the classroom and has co-authored seminal papers on the role of expert witnesses in the judiciary. His philosophical writings range from the scientific method to the biological foundations of ethics. His books include Tempo and Mode in Evolution (1995), Modern Genetics (second edition, 1984) and Population and Evolutionary Genetics: A Primer (1982).