University of Dundee University of Dundee
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11 September 2008

Symposium to mark retiral of Professor John Raven

a photograph of Professor John Raven

To mark the occasion of Professor John Raven's retirement and to celebrate his career in science a Symposium - 'Algae, Photosynthesis and Global Change' - will be held at the University of Dundee on Friday 12th September 2008.

John Raven joined the University of Dundee in 1971. He was appointed to a personal Chair in 1980 and to the John Boyd Baxter Professor of Biology from 1995 to the present. Throughout his career he has served as Chairperson or President of academic societies and national and international committees, and has been Editor of numerous botanical and phycological journals. John is a highly cited plant scientist who was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1981 and of the Royal Society of London in 1990.

Professor Raven has made a major contribution to the study of the mechanisms by which photosynthetic organisms acquire resources and how these resources are used in metabolism; how organisms perform in the environment and the relation of organismal phenomena to biogeochemistry and other large-scale processes.

In a recent interview, when asked about his opinion on the relationship between research and teaching Professor Raven said, 'My experience is that my undergraduate teaching has significantly benefited from my research activity. Equally important is that teaching has informed my research, by encouraging me to take the view of a smart but uninformed student peer review system.'

The Symposium will be held in the Dalhousie Building, University of Dundee, Sponsors of the event are the College of Life Sciences, the Division of Plant Sciences, 'Plant, Cell and Environment', the British Phycological Society, the Marine Biological Association, the New Phytologist Trust, the Society of Experimental Biology, the Phycological Society of America and the Botanical Society of Edinburgh.

Professor Mike Ferguson, Dean of Research at of the College of Life Sciences said, 'The symposium is a great way of saying thank you and farewell to John, who is retiring at the end of a superb and eminent career. He is also a much loved figure of students and colleagues alike.'

When asked about his plans for the future Professor Raven said, 'I would like to contribute to improving the integration of understanding of the functioning of organisms, and of their interactions with the environment across large ranges of time and space.'

'Life has survived many rapid and large amplitude environmental changes over billions of years, but we should not be complacent about the biological effects of current anthropogenic influences on the environment. At the most selfish level, we depend on the continued provision of ‘ecosystem services’ for our quality of life.'

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