Bristol academic honoured for world-class achievements
Press release issued: 23 December 2003
A Bristol University academic, Dr Samir Okasha in the Department of Philosophy, has been honoured by the Leverhulme Trust, in its 2003 Philip Leverhulme Prizes.
Dr Okasha works on a topic that is important not only in the philosophy of biology but also in biology in general. Namely, the "units of selection" problem: given that evolution works by natural selection, just what is being selected? Genes? Individuals? Groups? Until fairly recently, group selection was out of favour with biologists. Today, it's a serious scientific hypothesis again.
Dr Okasha has already written several influential papers on this subject. He's the first person, for example, to look closely at the statistical method of "contextual analysis" in relation to group selection, and to show that its implications are different from what has generally been accepted. The award of the Prize will enable him to work full-time on a comprehensive book on these important issues.
Dr Okasha, commenting on his award, said: "I am delighted to have been awarded the Phillip Leverhulme Prize, which will greatly assist my research."
The Philip Leverhulme Prize is awarded annually to outstanding young scholars in recognition of their research achievement. Each winner receives a prize of £50,000, paid in two equal instalments during 12 months, to advance their research.
The Leverhulme Trust was established in 1925 under the Will of the first Lord Leverhulme - William Hesketh Lever - the entrepreneur and philanthropist who established Lever Brothers in the late nineteenth century. The Trust provides some £25 million each year to promote research of originality and significance principally in the university sector across a full span of disciplines.