Marge Middleton submitted this truly important and interesting article on Professor Richard Cowling’s recent inauguration into the United States National Academy of Sciences, one of only three South Africans who have received this honour.
We can be very proud of our Professor Richard Cowling.
Professor Richard Cowling is a globally renowned vegetation ecologist and conservation scientist. During his 35-year career as a professional botanist, he and his colleagues have conducted ground-breaking research in community ecology, plant diversity and evolution, conservation science and palaeoecology. Much of this has translated into applied outcomes in areas such as conservation planning, degradation ecology, ecological economics, ecosystem services, invasion biology, natural resource management, restoration ecology and social marketing.
Reasons to be Proud – Top Mandela University researcher, Professor Richard Cowling, has been inaugurated into the United States’ National Academy of Sciences – fondly known as the Oscars of Science.
Cowling was elected in 2008 but only signed the register, officially inaugurating him, at the Academy’s annual meeting in Washington DC on 27 April.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, nonprofit organization of the USA’s leading researchers. The NAS recognizes and promotes outstanding science through election to membership; publication in its journal, PNAS; and its awards, programs, and special activities. Through the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the NAS provides objective, science-based advice on critical issues affecting the nation.
Members are elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honours that a scientist can receive. Current NAS membership totals approximately 2,380 members and nearly 485 foreign associates, of whom approximately 190 have received Nobel prizes. Only three of foreign associates are South African (including Prof Cowling).
In a nutshell, the Academy is like the Oscars of Science!