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Simon A. Levin

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Simon A. Levin
Born (1941-04-22) April 22, 1941 (age 83)
Alma mater
AwardsNational Medal of Science (2014)
Kyoto Prize (2005)
Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (2014)
Scientific career
Doctoral students

Simon Asher Levin (born April 22, 1941) is an American ecologist and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the director of the Center for BioComplexity at Princeton University.[1][2] He specializes in using mathematical modeling and empirical studies in the understanding of macroscopic patterns of ecosystems and biological diversities.


Levin received his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University. He went on to receive his Ph.D. from University of Maryland in mathematics, which is part of the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.[3]


At Cornell University 1965–1992, he was chair of the Section of Ecology and Systematics, and then director of the Ecosystems Research Center, the Center for Environmental Research and the Program on Theoretical and Computational Biology, as well as Charles A. Alexander Professor of Biological Sciences (1985–1992).[3]

In 1992, Professor Levin published his highly cited paper, titled "The Problem of Pattern and Scale in Ecology".[4]

Since 1992, he has been at Princeton University, where he is currently the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and director of the Center for BioComplexity. He retains an adjunct professorship at Cornell, where he still has many valued colleagues, and is a distinguished visiting professor at Arizona State University.

His research interests are in understanding how macroscopic patterns and processes are maintained at the level of ecosystems and the biosphere, in terms of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that operate primarily at the level of organisms; in infectious diseases; and in the interface between basic and applied ecology.

Levin is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Mathematical Society,[5] a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, and a Foreign Member of the Istituto Veneto. He is a University Fellow of Resources for the Future, a Fellow of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics, a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, a Fellow of the Society for Mathematical Biology, a Fellow of the American Mathematical Association, and a Distinguished Fellow of the Luohan Academy.

He also has received honorary doctorates from Eastern Michigan University, Whittier College (2004),[6] Michigan State University, McMaster University, and the University of Victoria.

He chaired the governing council for IIASA for more than five years and was vice-chair from 2009 to 2012. He serves on the science board of the Santa Fe Institute, which he co-chaired from 2007 to 2010. He is also vice-chair for mathematics of the Committee of Concerned Scientists. Levin is a former president of the Ecological Society of America and the Society for Mathematical Biology, and a past chair of the board of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics.

He won the MacArthur Award (1988), Distinguished Service Citation (1998) and the Eminent Ecologist Award (2010) of the Ecological Society of America, the Okubo Award of the Society for Mathematical Biology and the Japanese Society for Theoretical Biology, and the Distinguished Scientist Award of the American Institute for Biological Sciences. He was honored with the Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (2004), the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences (2005) by the Inamori Foundation, and the Margalef Prize (2010) of the Government of Catalonia, the Luca Pacioli Prize from Ca’Foscari University of Venice, Italy, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (2014), the National Medal of Science (2014, announced 2015, awarded 2016), and most recently, the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology (2022).

Levin has mentored more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and has published widely. He is the editor of the influential Princeton Guide to Ecology and the landmark Encyclopedia of Biodiversity.

Awards and distinctions


  1. ^ "Simon A. Levin". Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  2. ^ "Simon Levin | Ecology & Evolutionary Biology". Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  3. ^ a b c "MacArthur 1988" (PDF). Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. 71 (1). Ecological Society of America: 19–20. March 1990. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  4. ^ a b Christina Asquith (March 2014). "Finance, Bioterror, and Climate Change: The Ecological Solutions Interview with Dr. Simon Levin". The Solutions Journal. 5 (2): 17–19.
  5. ^ "2022 Class of Fellows of the AMS". American Mathematical Society. Retrieved 2021-11-05.
  6. ^ "Honorary Degrees | Whittier College". Retrieved 2020-02-12.
  7. ^ "Honorary Degrees | Whittier College". Retrieved 2024-06-07.
  8. ^ "Simon Asher Levin". Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  9. ^ Chad Boutin (April 19, 2007). "Levin to receive distinguished scientist award". Princeton University. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  10. ^ "Simon A. Levin, winner of the 2010 Ramon Margalef Prize in Ecology, in the Faculty of Biology". University of Barcelona. May 10, 2010. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  11. ^ "2010. Simon A. Levin". Ministry of the Presidency.
  12. ^ "Eminent Ecologist Award" (PDF). Ecological Society of America. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  13. ^ "Science Board member Simon Levin wins National Medal of Science for his research in ecological complexity". Santa Fe University. May 20, 2016. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  14. ^ BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards 2021
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Simon A. Levin
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