Contact: Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7650
October 4, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- Peter Crane, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, will speak at SMU on Friday, Nov. 8, at 11 a.m. as part of the fall lecture series sponsored by the Environmental Science Program at SMU.

The lecture, titled "Exploring the World of Plants: Unfinished Business," is free and open to the public. It will be held in room 110 of the Dedman Life Sciences Building, 3110 University Blvd. Parking is available in the Airline Garage across the street.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, are one of the largest, most prestigious and influential botanical gardens in the world. Founded in 1759, the gardens are comprised of estates at Kew, in west London, and at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex. The gardens employ more than 550 scientists and other staff, and the living collections include some 33,000 plant taxa and the largest herbarium in the world, with over 7 million specimens. Kew's Millennium Seed Bank project is a massive effort in ex situ plant conservation, with the aim of protecting 10 percent of the world's plant species -- especially from arid and semi-arid lands -- before 2010.

Crane holds academic appointments in the Department of Botany at the University of Reading, where he received his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees, and the Department of Geology at Royal Holloway College, University of London. He joined the Field Museum in Chicago in 1982 as assistant curator in the Department of Geology, and from 1992 to 1999 served as vice president and then director with overall responsibility for the museum's scientific programs. Crane has since served in several positions and received a number of honors for his work both in the U.S. and abroad. He is a Fellow of both the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society.

In addition to his numerous administrative responsibilities, Crane continues his own research, which integrates studies of living and fossil plants to understand large-scale patterns and processes of plant evolution. He also is engaged in a variety of initiatives focused on the conservation of plant diversity, both in Chicago, where he established the Office of Environmental and Conservation Programmes at the Field Museum, and at Kew.

The Environmental Science Program offered through SMU's Dedman College is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students for careers in medicine, law, public policy, enforcement, site remediation or conservation biology. For more information on the program, visit its Web site at