Dr. Ward B. Watt is Elected
President of the California Academy of Sciences
150-Year Old Natural History Museum Welcomes New President
(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) July 3, 2003 -Dr. Ward B. Watt, a Professor
of Biological Sciences at Stanford University and member of the California
Academy of Sciences Board of Trustees, has been elected President of the
California Academy of Sciences. Dr. Watt has been a Research Associate
in Entomology at the Academy since 1991 and has served on the Academy's
Science Council since 1997.
As President of the Academy, Dr. Watt will oversee scientific activities
and will serve as the chairperson of the Academy's Science Council, an
advisory committee that develops and implements the scientific program
and continually reviews scientific activities carried on within the institution.
As President, Dr. Watt's goals for the Academy include reaching both the
scientific community and the general public:
"The Academy must continue and strengthen its world-leading efforts
toward the discovery of new insights into living diversity and the recognition
of natural processes that maintain and promote that diversity," Dr.
Watt noted. "I hope to explain, to professional colleagues and the
interested public alike, how important it is that we increase our fundamental
knowledge of living things, both for its own sake and so that we can then
apply that knowledge actively to solve urgent, practical human and environmental
problems. We do not know enough to solve our problems now, and we must
learn quickly what we need to know, as the problems will not wait upon
Dr. Watt joined the faculty at Stanford University in 1969 as an Assistant
Professor, and was elected a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences
in 1992. Dr. Watt joined the Academy Board in July 1997 and most recently
served as the Academy's Vice-President. He has been Vice Chair of the
Science Council and serves on the California Academy of Sciences Finance,
Development, and Cultural Diversity Committees. He is also a Fellow of
the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
"We are pleased to have Dr. Watt in this role for the Academy,"
noted Dr. J. Patrick Kociolek, Academy Executive Director, "as the
Academy looks to the future of scientific research, and the task of educating
the public to better celebrate and protect our natural world, Dr. Watt
is the kind of advocate the Academy needs to support our efforts."
Dr. Watt's Research at Stanford University
Currently Dr. Watt's research focus is on developing evolutionary
theory from mechanistic viewpoints. Using techniques ranging from biochemistry
and DNA sequencing to field ecology and mathematical population genetics,
he and his group study biochemical and physiological mechanisms of genetic
variation, ecological niche structure as the source of natural-selective
pressures, the resulting patterns of evolution of metabolic organization,
and the interaction between these specializations and the differentiation
of species through time.
About the Academy
Since 1853, the California Academy of Sciences has been dedicated
to exploring, explaining, and protecting the natural world. The Academy
is the oldest scientific institution in the West, founded after the California
gold rush to survey the vast resources of California and beyond. Today
it has grown to be one of the largest natural history museums in the country,
and is the only one in the nation to include both an aquarium and planetarium.
The Academy provides scientific knowledge and expertise to visiting scientists,
educators, adults, students, parents, children, conservation organizations,
government leaders, and the media.
The Academy has a research staff of 30 Ph.D.-level scientists - supported
by more than 100 Research and Field Associates and over 300 Fellows -
who launch dozens of expeditions each year to explore the natural world
and discover more about our planet. It has eight scientific research departments
in the fields of anthropology, aquatic biology, botany, entomology, geology,
herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology, mammalogy and ornithology.
Its research collections, which are among the worlds largest, are of international
renown and include more than 18 million examples of plants, animals, fossils
and artifacts essential tools for comparative studies on the history and
future of the natural world.
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