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October 21, 2003

Sigma Xi President Peter Raven Receives Cosmos Award

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC -- Sigma Xi President Peter H. Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden, has received the 2003 International Cosmos Prize, one of the world's top environmental awards, presented annually by the Expo '90 Foundation of Japan.

Raven received the commendation, a pure gold medallion and 40 million Japanese yen ($340,000), at a ceremony today in Osaka, Japan, where he gave a lecture and participated in a symposium held in his honor.

He was honored for his "outstanding research work and achievement concerning all life phenomena on Earth embodied in flowers and greenery." An advocate of sustainable living and biodiversity, the distinguished botanist has written extensively about plant extinction and ways to avert it. He is the 11th recipient of the Cosmos Prize.

A Sigma Xi member for 46 years, Raven has led the Missouri Botanical Garden for more than three decades. He is also the Englemann Professor of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis and a past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

According to the Cosmos Prize citation: "Focusing attention on seriously endangered species around the world, Raven has argued since the 1960s that preserving biological diversity around the globe is essential to the survival of human beings. In addition to the academic community, he also appealed to national governments and international organizations to take measures to conserve biodiversity, paving the way for the conclusion of the international convention on biodiversity at the 1992 Earth Summit."

He was also cited for the important role he has played in developing public awareness about science by serving as chairman of the National Science Board. "Given his approach toward issues concerning life on earth from a global viewpoint and his significant contributions toward promoting the co-existence of nature and human beings in both academic and practical terms, Dr. Raven well deserves the International Cosmos Prize," the citation concluded.


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