Simon A. Levin

James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Simon A. Levin received his bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and his doctoral degree in mathematics from the University of Maryland. At Cornell University from 1965 to 1992, he was chair of the Section of Ecology and Systematics, and then director of the Ecosystems Research Center, the Center for Environmental Research and the Program on Theoretical and Computational Biology, as well as Charles A. Alexander Professor of Biological Sciences (1985 to 1992). Since 1992, he has been at Princeton University, where he is currently the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and director of the Center for BioComplexity. He retains an adjunct professorship at Cornell University, where he still has many valued colleagues, and is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California, Irvine. His research interests are in understanding how macroscopic patterns and processes are maintained at the level of ecosystems and the biosphere, in terms of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that operate primarily at the level of organisms, in infectious diseases and in the interface between basic and applied ecology.

Levin is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a foreign member of the Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere, ed Arti along with the Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Scienze e Lettere. He is a university fellow of Resources for the Future, a fellow of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics and a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

He also has received honorary doctorates from Eastern Michigan University, Whittier College, Michigan State University and McMaster University. He chaired the Governing Council for the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis for more than five years and was vice chair from 2009 to 2012. He serves on the Science Board of the Santa Fe Institute, which he co-chaired from 2007 to 2010. He is also vice chair for mathematics of the Committee of Concerned Scientists.

Levin is a former president of the Ecological Society of America and the Society for Mathematical Biology, and a past Chair of the Board of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics. He has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (1988), a Distinguished Service Citation (1998),  the Eminent Ecologist Award (2010) of the Ecological Society of America, the Okubo Award of the Society for Mathematical Biology and the Japanese Society for Mathematical Biology, and the Distinguished Scientist Award of the American Institute for Biological Sciences. He was honored with the Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences (2004) by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences (2005) by the Inamori Foundation; and the Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology (2010) from the Government of Catalonia; the Luca Pacioli Award from Ca’Foscari University of Venice, Italy; the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (2014); and most recently, the 2014 National Medal of Science (awarded 2016). Levin has mentored more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and he has published widely. He is the editor of the influential Princeton Guide to Ecology and the landmark Encyclopedia of Biodiversity.

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