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Dr. Steven Stanley


Awards Received

Top Research Professor of the Year

Research Professor of the Decade

Lifetime Achievement Award

IAOTP’s Hall of Fame

Prof. Steven M. Stanley, Ph.D. Paleontologist and Research Professor of University of Hawaii at Manoa, was recently selected as Top Researcher of the Decade by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP).


While inclusion with the International Association of Top Professionals is an honor in itself, only 1 Research Professor is chosen for this distinction. Dr. Stanley is being recognized for this honor for dedicating over 4 decades of his professional life to the Paleontology Industry. He was honored at IAOTP’s 2019 Annual Awards Gala in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel, as Top Research Professor of the Year and for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. Stanley will be honored at IAOTP’s 2020 Annual Awards Gala being held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City not only for this award but also for his induction in IAOTP’s Hall of Fame. 


With such a phenomenal impact as a seasoned and trusted American paleontologist and evolutionary biologist, Dr. Stanley has devoted a significant part of his life to his career. Dr. Stanley graduated Suma Cum Laude from Princeton University in 1963 with an AB, and earned his Ph.D from Yale University in 1968.


As the Research Professor for the University of Hawaii, he is best known for his empirical research documenting the evolutionary process of punctuated equilibrium in the fossil record. His impressive repertoire of prior roles have included Professor for Johns Hopkins University, Chairman for the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences for Johns Hopkins University, & MS Program in Environmental Sciences and Policy for Johns Hopkins University. In 1972 Dr. Stanley developed the Predation Hypothesis to explain the evolution of novelties in the Cambrian explosion. Stanley proposed that predation stimulated prey animals to evolve defenses such as shells, rapid swimming, and burrowing. These strategies also opened new avenues of evolution through functional shifts. Hard shells allowed for filter feeding, and deep burrowing allowed animals to gain new access to food resources.


Dr. Stanley is an active member of his community and has been recognized worldwide for his initiative and allegiance to his profession. He has received many awards, accolades and has been featured in numerous publications multiple years in a row such as Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in the West, and Who’s Who in the World. This year he was inducted in IAOTP’s Hall of Fame. For 2019, Dr. Stanley graced the front cover of TIP (Top Industry Professionals) Magazine, and was selected for not only the Lifetime Achievement Award but also selected as Top Research Professor of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP). He was featured in the Wall Street Journal and was displayed on a billboard in Times Square. His most important medal was in 2013, he received the Penrose Medal “for eminence in pure research” from the Geological Society of America. In 2008, Dr. Stanley was the recipient for the Twenhofel Medal by the Society for Sedimentary Geology. In 2007, he received a medal from the Paleontological Society which is awarded to a person whose eminence is based on advancement of knowledge in paleontology. In 2006, he received the Mary Clark Thompson Medal from the National Academy of Sciences. In 2004, he received the James H. Shea Award by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. In 1997, he received the Bownocker Medal from Ohio State University and in 1986 he received the Outstanding Technology Paper Award by the Washington Geological Society. In 1977, Dr. Stanley received the Charles Schuchert Award for the Paleontological Society and in 1973 the Allan C. Davis Medal given by Maryland Academy of Sciences. Dr. Stanley is a Past President of the American Geosciences Institute; Former Councilor for the Geological Society of America; Former Executive Committee for the American Geosciences Institute; and Former President at the Paleontological Society.


Aside from his thriving career as a Professor, Dr. Stanley is also a sought-after lecturer, published Author, Contributor to hundreds of book chapters, Articles and Professional Journals and has sat on numerous boards. He currently is an Editorial Board Member of Paleobiology; Editorial Board Member of the American Journal of Science, Former Member of the Commission on Geoscience, Environment and Resources of the National Research Council, and Former Vice Chairman for the Board of Earth Sciences for the National Research Council. Dr. Stanley is the Co-Authored “Earth System History,” “Children of the Ice Age: How a Global Catastrophe Allowed Humans to Evolve”, “Exploring Earth and Life Through Time”, “Extinction”, just to name a few.


For the future, Dr. Stanley hopes that his scientific research and contributions will continue to make a difference for paleontology studies. When he is not working, Dr. Stanley enjoys writing and being an amateur landscape architect, building walks and patios and planting trees and shrubs. As an honorary member of the exclusive Hall of Fame, Dr. Stanley has a legacy of true excellence.

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