Lynn Margulis

1999 William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement

University of Massachusetts evolutionist Lynn Margulis played a major role in introducing the "serial endosymbiosis theory," which posited that cells with nuclei (eukaryotic cells) evolved through a symbiotic relationship with other cell types. It is now widely accepted that such cellular components as mitochondria and chloroplasts were once separate organisms--bacteria--that over the course of evolution were incorporated into the make-up of modern eukaryotic cells. Margulis is also known for her long collaboration with British scientist James E. Lovelock, originator of the provocative Gaia Hypothesis, which suggests that life has had a greater influence on the evolution of the Earth than is ordinarily assumed, affecting the global environment in ways that favor the continuity of life. An energetic popularizer of science and spokesperson for environmental issues, Margulis has written many books on a wide range of scientific topics, including Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Evolution from our Microbial Ancestors (with her son, Dorion Sagan) andSlanted Truths: Essays on Gaia, Symbiosis, and Evolution (with Dorion Sagan and foreword by Phylis and Philip Morrison). In addition to her extensive scholarly work, she has contributed to popular magazines and education journals and has produced several videos. Margulis is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.