Andrew H. Knoll

Andrew H. Knoll

Fellow: Awarded 1986
Field of Study: Organismic Biology & Ecology

Competition: US & Canada

Harvard University

Andrew H. Knoll is the Fisher Professor of Natural History at Harvard University. He received his B.A. in Geology from Lehigh University in 1973 and his Ph.D., also in Geology, from Harvard in 1977. Following five years on the faculty of Oberlin College, he returned to Harvard as Associate Professor of Biology in 1982. He has been a member of the Harvard faculty ever since, serving as Professor of Biology, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, chair of the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Andrew Knoll’s research focuses on the early evolution of life, Precambrian environmental history, and, especially, the interconnections between the two. Paleontological discoveries in his lab include the microfossil assemblages of Svalbard, from which basic principles of Proterozoic paleoecology were developed; exceptionally preserved Mesoproterozoic fossils from Siberia and northern Australia, which provide some of our oldest evidence of eukaryotic biology; and phosphatized, silicified, and compressed fossils from the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation, China, that record both early animals and a terminal Proterozoic radiation of algae. He currently serves on the science team for NASA’s MER mission to Mars.

Professor Knoll has served on the board of the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution), the United States Board of Earth Science and Resources, the U.S. Space Science Board, and the Advisory Council of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He chaired the subcommission of the International Commission of Stratigraphy that established the Ediacaran Period, the first new period of the geologic time scale to be ratified in more than a century.

Professor Knoll’s honors include the Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society, the Walcott Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, Honorary Fellowship in the European Union of Geosciences, the Phi Beta Kappa Book Award in Science (for his 2003 book Life on a Young Planet), the Moore Medal of the Society for Sedimentary Geology, the Paleontological Society Medal, and the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society of London. Andrew Knoll is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.


National Academy of Sciences , 1991
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