J. William Schopf
J. William Schopf
Competition: US & Canada
University of California, Los Angeles
Director of the Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life at the University of California, Los Angeles, J. William Schopf received his undergraduate training in geology at Oberlin College, Ohio, and his Ph.D. degree, in biology, from Harvard University. A member of the UCLA faculty since 1968, he has been the honored recipient of all his university’s campus-wide faculty awards: the Distinguished Teacher Award, the Academic Senate’s Faculty Research Lectureship, and UCLA’s Gold Shield Prize for Academic Excellence.
An active contributor to his science, he has authored some 340 scientific publications; has edited ten volumes, including two national prize-winning monographs on early evolution, his primary research interest; and is author of Cradle of Life, The Discovery of Earth’s Earliest Fossils, awarded Phi Beta Kappa’s 2000 national science book prize. The first to discover ancient (Precambrian) cellular fossil microorganisms in stromatolitic sediments of Australia (1965), South Africa (1966), Russia (1977), India (1978), and China (1984), his contributions have been recognized internationally: he has been an Alexander von Humboldt Prize Fellow in Germany, is one of fifty Foreign Members of the Linnean Society of London, is the first-elected Foreign Member of the Scientific Presidium of the A. N. Bach Institute of Biochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and he serves on the Scientific Council (Curatorium) of the Geobio-Center of Ludwig Maximilians Universität München.
Dr. Schopf is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is Past President of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life (ISSOL). Honored by the American Academy of Achievement, listed by Los Angeles Times Magazine as among southern California’s most outstanding scientists of the 20th century, and selected in 2006 by the Botanical Society of America as a Centennial Scientist, he is recipient of ISSOL’s Oparin Medal, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Thompson Medal, and U.S. National Science Board’s Waterman Medal; twice he has been awarded Guggenheim Fellowships ( in 1973, for work in Australia; and in 1988, for work in the Netherlands).