PETER CRANE is Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. His work focuses on the diversity of plant life – its origin, fossil history, current status, conservation and use. From 1982 to 1999 he was at the Field Museum in Chicago, and from 1992 to 1999 served as Director with overall responsibility for the Museum’s scientific programs. From 1999 to 2006 he was Director of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, one of the largest, most prestigious and influential botanical gardens in the world. He returned to Chicago in 2006 as the John and Marion Sullivan University Professor at The University of Chicago, before being appointed at Yale in 2009. Peter Crane was elected to the Royal Society – the UK academy of sciences in 1998 and was knighted in the UK for services to horticulture and conservation in 2004. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and a Member of the German Academy Leopoldina. He is the recipient of several honorary degrees, including an honorary doctorate of science from Cambridge University, and currently serves on the Board of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, The Field Museum, Chicago, The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, and Wellesley College.