Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda wins Linnean Medal, the ‘Nobel Prize for naturalists’
Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda was this week awarded the Linnean Medal which is considered as the Nobel Prize for naturalists, at a ceremony in London. He is the first Sri Lanka to win the annual medal bestowed since 1888 to a botanist or a zoologist, or to one of each, in the same year.
Dr. Pethiyagoda is an author, educator, and taxonomist and once served as deputy chair of the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission. He is also a Rolex laureate.“His impact on biodiversity research in Sri Lanka and beyond through his output and catalytic influence cannot be overestimated,” the award committee wrote, and the author of this commentary explains why this is so. Amongst his copious outputs, Pethiyagoda has contributed greatly in highlighting the very history of biodiversity in Asia, linking together scientists, artists, travelers, and explorers in both East and West. One of his first books was a comprehensive color guide to the freshwater fish of Sri Lanka – a best seller.