Society diversity

Marcus Feldman receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for the Study of Evolution

Marcus FeldmanProfessor Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford at Biology department at the Faculty of Human Sciences, received the 2022 Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) Lifetime Achievement Award for research that “contributed to our understanding of recombination and sex evolution, human population genetics, niche construction, and the theory of cultural evolution”.

The SSE Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2020 and recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the study of evolution, demonstrated exceptional mentorship, served the evolution community, and/or contributed to the diversity and inclusion in the field. Winners are presented at the SSE Summer Conference and are invited to submit a primary research paper, review, overview or commentary to the journal Evolution.

Feldman, the founder and director of the Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies and co-director of Center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genomics, is known for being the originator of the quantitative theory of cultural evolution and how this theory relates to the interactions between biology and culture. He also founded the mathematical theory of evolution for rates of genetic mutation and recombination, dispersal and cultural transmission. He has collaborated extensively with Chinese demographers, particularly on issues related to the consequences of the biased sex ratio in China. Feldman is also a member of Bio-Xthe Stanford Cancer Institutethe Wu Tsai Institute of Neuroscienceand is a subsidiary of Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

The award citation recognizes Feldman’s contributions to the field of evolution, mentorship, and the evolutionary research community. feldman [and Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza] “has developed a new field, called cultural evolution, which studies how genetic and cultural variation can interact and affect each other,” the quote reads. For his mentorship, Feldman received the Allan V. Cox Medal for Fostering Undergraduate Research at Stanford and the Stanford Biosciences Outstanding Mentorship and Service Award. His contributions to the evolution community include co-founding the journal Theoretical population biology (in 1970) and as editor of The American Naturalist from 1984 to 1990.

Upon learning that he had been honored with the award, Feldman said, “The award is truly a tribute to my mentor Samuel Karlin, to my late collaborators. [Luigi] Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Dick Lewontin and Freddy Christiansen and the very talented post-docs, graduates and undergraduates who have worked with me at Stanford for the past 50 years. I was extremely fortunate to have benefited from Stanford’s favorable atmosphere for interdisciplinary evolutionary studies.