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September 18, 2006

California Academy of Sciences honors botanist Jean Langenheim

By Tim Stephens

Jean Langenheim, professor emerita and research professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, has been chosen to receive the 2006 Fellows Medal of the California Academy of Sciences (CAS). This is the highest honor bestowed by the academy, founded in 1853 as the first scientific institution in the western United States.

Photo of Jean Langenheim

Jean Langenheim

The award recognizes Langenheim's "decades of excellence in contribution to the advancement of science and to the life of this institution," said CAS president Ward Watt in a letter informing Langenheim of the award.

Langenheim has been a CAS fellow since 1973, when she was elected to the academy. She will receive the medal at the CAS Fellows' Annual Dinner and Meeting on October 10. It is the second major honor this year for Langenheim, who received a Centennial Award from the Botanical Society of America in August (see Currents story).

Langenheim is an eminent plant ecologist and leading authority on plant resins. She has studied plant resins and amber (fossilized resin) for more than 40 years, and her 2003 book Plant Resins (Timber Press) is the only authoritative reference book on the subject.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Langenheim has served as the president of the Association for Tropical Biology, the Ecological Society of America, the International Society of Chemical Ecology, and the Society for Economic Botany.

Langenheim joined the UCSC faculty in 1966. She earned her B.S. in biology at the University of Tulsa and her M.S. and Ph.D. in botany at the University of Minnesota.

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