DRI awards 2005 Nevada Medal to University of Washington archaeologist Donald K. Grayson


Reno, Nev. - Desert Research Institute has awarded its 2005 Nevada Medal to University of Washington scientist Dr. Donald K. Grayson, who is widely recognized as one of the world's foremost archaeologists and paleoecologists.

Paleoecology is the branch of science dealing with the interaction between ancient life forms, including humans, and their environments.

Grayson's primary areas of research concern human interaction with the landscape and using archaeological data to answer biological questions. His work has focused on the impacts prehistoric hunter-gatherer groups had on their natural landscapes and the effects such change then had on the people themselves.

"Dr. Grayson has conducted landmark research in wide-ranging but related areas," DRI President Dr. Stephen G. Wells said. "He has made fundamental as well as innovative scientific and historical contributions in many disciplines, strongly influencing those who work in them,"

Grayson is best known for his innovative research showing that climate change-and not "overkill" by early human hunters-led to the demise of large mammals like the wooly mammoth in North America some 10,000 years ago. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2002. Fellows are chosen for "their efforts toward advancing science or fostering applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished." DRI has presented the Nevada Medal since 1988. It includes a $20,000 honorarium and minted silver medal provided by the shareholders of communication company SBC. DRI is currently accepting nominations for the 2006 and 2007 award years.

Universities, private firms, research organizations, professional societies and individuals are invited to make Nevada Medal nominations up to the July 1 deadline.

DRI's selection committee considers the overall impact of a nominee's career as well as singular contributions with reference to the influence on the field of science or engineering. The committee also takes into account the significance of these contributions toward resolution or understanding of critical scientific, environmental or technical challenges.

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