Richard Dawkins Sc. D., FRS, FRSL is the English ethologist, evolutionary biologist and best selling author. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford and was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008.
Dawkins is also the Vice President of the British Humanist Association and came to prominence with the publication of his book “The Selfish Gene” in 1976. The book follows on from the work started by the great naturalist Sir Charles Darwin and postulates the theory that genes behave in a way that can be likened to selfish behaviour. Meaning that the more selfish genes will be the most successful at increasing their number.
In 2006 his book, The God Delusion, was published which sold over 2 million copies, and caused a large amount of controversy from those who do not favour open debate.
Climbing Mount Improbable is my favourite of his books, it so clearly explains the divergent and seemingly random paths that evolution can take. His explanation of the evolution of the eye is simply illuminating and there is no better way to understand how the process of evolution can result in such wondrous complexity.
Dawkins also recently published a rather beautiful children's book "The Magic of Reality" illustrated by one of the great contemporary artists Dave McKean. If you have not come across Dave McKean before, see link below for his work, which is outstanding.
He is also credited with the use of the word “Meme” to signify that ideas like genes can spread because they are successful and survive. This is not the same as saying they are good or necessarily bad ideas, just they propagate in the same way that genes do. Today the idea of viral thought is widespread, with social media providing so many regular examples.
Dawkins is most widely known for his criticism of creationism, which he feels does not encourage developing a questioning mind. His overall philosophy is one of questing for knowledge and forming opinions based on greater understanding of the world around us.
The greatest approach to all knowledge is to try to disprove one ideas all the time to make are they are the best available rather than simply forming an opinion and never deviating, despite a wealth of new information.
We present him the eXcellence Award for his contribution to popular science and the pursuit of knowledge and understanding of the world we share.