Peter H. Raven

2013 John P. McGovern Science and Society Award

A champion of conservation and biodiversity,Peter-Raven world-renowned botanist Peter H. Raven is the 2013 Sigma Xi John P. McGovern Science and Society Award recipient.

A native Californian, Dr. Raven received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1960 after completing his undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. Following several years as a member of the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University, Dr. Raven moved to St. Louis in 1971 as Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Engelmann Professor of Botany at Washington University. For four decades, Dr. Raven has headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured into a world-class center for botanical research and education, and horticultural display. He retired as president in 2010 and assumed the role of President Emeritus and consultant through 2014.

Described by Time magazine as a "Hero for the Planet," Raven is known for his passion for conservation and his efforts to ensure the continuation of research around the world in order to preserve endangered plants. He is considered a leading advocate for conservation and a sustainable environment.

In recognition of his work in science and conservation, Dr. Raven has also been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the prestigious International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan and in 2001, the United States National Medal of Science, and the country's highest award for scientific accomplishment. Over the course of his career, he has also held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships.

Under President Bill Clinton, Dr. Raven served on the Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. In addition, he served for 12 years as home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and is a proud and dedicated member of the Academies of Science in Argentina, Brazil, China, Denmark, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, the U.K., and several other countries.

In addition to his many publications, both popular and scientific, Raven co-wrote Biology of Plants, an internationally best-selling textbook, now in its sixth edition. He also co-authored Environment, a leading textbook on the environment.

Each year since 1984, the McGovern Award has recognized achievement by a scientist or engineer that transcends their career as a researcher.  Past recipients of this award represent a broad spectrum of individuals whose varied activities supported research, the communication of science and the impact of science on society.

Peter H. Raven also served Sigma Xi Society in the capacity of President from 2003-2004.