Kamal Bawa, India's most prominent biologist and an evolutionary ecologist, has been elected to the prestigious Royal Society in recognition of his pioneering contributions in the area of conservation science.
Bawa, 76, a distinguished Biology professor at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, joins former and current fellows such as Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and about 80 Nobel laureates on July 10.
Established in 1660, each year the London-based Royal Society's existing fellowship proposes about 700 candidates for election and then elects up to 52 fellows from England and the Commonwealth countries, and up to 10 foreign fellows.
"I am interested in developing new paradigms of conversation that take into account the need to alleviate poverty in biodiversity-rich areas through sustainable use of biodiversity," Bawa, who joined University of Massachusetts 36 years ago, said in a university release.
"I also remain interested in the sustainable use of ecosystem services including such provisioning services as non-timber forest products. My third distinct interest in sustainable studies is land use and land cover change and its impact on biodiversity," he said.
Bawa is the second University of Massachusetts faculty member to be elected a fellow of the Royal Society after Roger Davis, who teaches in the program in Molecular Medicine.
"Kamal Bawa's election as a fellow of the Royal Society further validates the critical importance of his contributions to and legacy as one of the chief founders of the field of sustainability," said UMass Boston Chancellor J Keith Motley.
Royal Society said Bawa's pioneering contributions to understanding the population biology of tropical forest trees led to new strategies for their conservation and also for the sustainable use of non-timber forest products.
"He has provided leadership in conservation science in India by establishing ATREE (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment) in Bangalore, an influential NGO that generates interdisciplinary knowledge, guides policymaking, disseminates information and builds human capacity in biodiversity science," the Royal Society said.
"Through his work and popular writing, Kamal Bawa has promoted international cooperation in science, while also strengthening biodiversity awareness and public support for conservation in Indian civil society," it added.
The London-based Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world's most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. It recognises, promotes, and supports excellence in science and encourages the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.