Richard Dawkins is a British evolutionary biologist and author born in Nairobi, Kenya. His scientific career revolves mostly around genes and the theory of evolution. He first came to prominence 1976 by popularizing the gene-centered view of evolution and coining the term meme in his book The Selfish Gene. He followed that up in 1982 with the introduction of a theory that certain elements of the gene can spread into the body’s environment and even other living bodies – this was the subject of The Extended Phenotype.
Throughout his career Dawkins has attracted a great deal of attention by advocating atheism and criticizing the theory of creationism. In 1986, he criticized the watchmaker analogy – a theory that the complexity of living organisms is a sign of a supernatural creator. Dawkins countered it by making an analogy to a blind watchmaker.
One of Dawkins’ most recent and probably most famous books is the 2006 The God Delusion, where he argues that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that practically all religion is false belief. The book sparked a lot of controversy, eventually leading to Dawkins and fellow Oxford professor John Lennox publicly debating the author’s views expressed in the book. They debated twice – in 2007 at the University of Birmingham in Alabama and in 2008 at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
Most of Dawkins’ other work has been science communication, including numerous books and media appearances.
ZSL Silver Medal (1989)
Faraday Award (1990)
Kistler Prize (2001)