Briggs is the 2015 Paleontological Society Medalist

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Derek Briggs

Derek Briggs, the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Professor of Geology and Geophysics and curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, has been named the 2015 Paleontological Society Medalist.

The award is the most prestigious honor bestowed by the Paleontological Society. It is given to a scientist “whose eminence is based on advancement of knowledge in paleontology.”

A member of the Yale faculty since 2003, Briggs was director of the Peabody from 2008 until 2014. He served as president of the Paleontological Society from 2006 to 2008, and president of the Paleontological Association from 2002 to 2004. He is a leading authority on fossils from the Burgess Shale of British Columbia, and his work in that area has been widely acclaimed.

His research has focused on the preservation and evolutionary significance of exceptionally preserved fossil biotas. That work has involved a variety of approaches, from experimenting with the factors controlling decay and fossilization, through studies of early diagenetic mineralization and organic preservation, to fieldwork on a range of fossil occurrences.

In 1999, Briggs was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society, the independent scientific academy of the United Kingdom. He also is an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy. He has been awarded the Premio Capo d’Orlando (the Italian prize for paleontology), the Lyell Medal of the Geological Society of London, the Boyle Medal of the Royal Dublin Society and Irish Times, and a Humboldt Research Award for work at the University of Bonn.

Founded in 1908, the Paleontological Society is an international non-profit organization devoted exclusively to the advancement of paleontology: invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology, micropaleontology, and paleobotany.

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