Levin to receive distinguished scientist award

The American Institute of Biological Sciences has selected Princeton's Simon Levin to receive its 2007 Distinguished Scientist Award.

Levin, the George M. Moffett Professor of Biology, will be presented with a plaque and lifetime membership in AIBS at the organization's annual meeting on May 14 in Washington, D.C. The institute's awards committee cited Levin's studies on the loss of planetary biodiversity due to human impact, a research effort that has led to new methods of environmental protection.

Levin came to Princeton in 1992 after teaching at Cornell University for 27 years. He has been the director of Princeton's Center for BioComplexity since 2001 and is the founding director of the Princeton Environmental Institute. Much of his work is concerned with the mechanisms that sustain biodiversity, the evolution of diversification and the implications for ecosystem structure and functioning.

Levin has been a leader in applying mathematical approaches to studies of ecosystems across a wide range of scales, from the behavior and genetics of individual organisms to the dynamics of large populations. He has collaborated with economists and environmental scientists to propose new methods for dealing with environmental problems.

He received A.H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004 and the Kyoto Prize from the Inamori Foundation of Japan in honor of his contributions to environmental science in 2005.

Founded in 1947, the American Institute of Biological Sciences is a nonprofit scientific association dedicated to advancing biological research and education for the welfare of society. Since 1972, the institute has presented the Distinguished Scientist Award annually to individuals who have made significant scientific contributions to the biological sciences. Past winners have included Princeton's Peter and Rosemary Grant in 2005.