Francisco J. Ayala was the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences and
Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. He was a
member of the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He
has been President and Chairman of the Board of the American Association for
the Advancement of Science.
Born in Madrid, Spain, he has lived in the United States since 1961, and
became a U.S. citizen in 1971. He is author of more than 650 articles and
twelve books. The books include Tempo and Mode in Evolution (1995), Modern
Genetics (2nd ed., 1984), Population and Evolutionary Genetics: A Primer
(1982), Evolving: The Theory and Processes of Organic Evolution (1979),
Evolution (1977), Molecular Evolution (1976), and Studies in the Philosophy of
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of
Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society; fellow of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the California Academy of Sciences.
He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow (twice).
Ayala has received the Gold Honorary Gregor Mendel Medal from the Czech
Academy of Sciences, the President's Award of the American Institute of
Biological Sciences, the Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award from the
AAAS, the Medal of the College of France, and the UCI Medal from the University
of California. He has received honorary degrees from the Universities of Athens
(Greece), Barcelona, Leon, Madrid, Vigo, and Las Islas Baleares (Spain). He is
a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Royal Academy of
Sciences of Spain, the Mexican Academy of Sciences, and the Latin American
Institute for Advanced Studies.
He has been President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, a member of
the Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the National Advisory
Council of the Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH), the National
Advisory Council for the Human Genome Project, the Executive Committee of the
Science Advisory Board of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Commission
on Life Sciences, and the Board on Basic Biology (Chairman, 1985-1992) of the
National Research Council. He served as expert witness in the Arkansas trial on
the teaching of evolution (December 1981).
He is a frequent lecturer in universities and other institutions in the
United States and elsewhere, including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China,
Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain,
Greece, Holland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Panama, Peru, Russia, Spain,
Switzerland, Venezuela, and Yugoslavia.
His research focusses on population and evolutionary genetics, including the
origin of species, genetic diversity of populations, the origin of malaria, the
population structure of parasitic protozoa, and the molecular clock of
evolution. He also writes about the interface between religion and science, and
on philosophical issues concerning epistemology, ethics, and the philosophy of
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