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International Cosmos Prize

The Prizewinner 1998

Name Jared Mason Diamond
Born on 10 September 1937
Nationality United States of America
Title Professor,
University of California, Los Angeles,
Medical School

Reason for Awarding

Dr. Jared Mason Diamond, Professor of Physiology at the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, has made remarkable achievements in physiological studies on biological membranes and others, which have been recognized by election to the National Academy of Sciences. At the same time, pursuing a parallel career in such other areas as evolutionary biology and biogeography based on fieldwork, he has organized more than 15 expeditions, mainly to New Guinea, for over 30 years, and published many papers on the relationship between living things in nature, centering on birds and humans.

With the results of those field expeditions as the bases, Dr. Diamond's interest broadened and he turned his attention more and more toward global human ecology, which led him to publish the book entitled "Guns, Germs, and Steel" in 1997. Taking a long-term perspective ranging from 13,000 years ago when the ice age was finally over to the present, the book tries to elucidate the reasons why the evolution of human societies proceeded so differently on the different continents, including Asia, Americas, Europe, and Africa. Furthermore, it is a unique human history that integrates studies in many academic areas such as evolutionary biology, biogeography environmental geography, genetics, molecular biology, behavioral ecology, linguistics, and archaeology, and is attracting attention worldwide.

Recognizing that his work presented in this book are the results that have been brought about by taking a global, long-term perspective, adopting integrated methodologies, and giving fresh insights into the relationship between nature and humans, we have concluded that his achievements are surely worthy of the International Cosmos Prize.


1958 B.A. Harvard, Biochemical Sciences, Summa Cum Laude
1961 Ph.D., University of Cambridge (England), Physiology
1962 - 1965 Junior Fellow, Society of Fellows, Harvard University
(Biophysical Laboratory, Harvard Medical School)
1968 - 2002 Professor of Physiology, UCLA Medical School
1973 - Research Associate in Ornithology, American Museum of Natural History
1985 - Research Associate in Ornithology and Mammalogy,
Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History
1990 - 1993 Vice Chair of Physiology, UCLA Medical School
2002 - Professor of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles


1961 - 1965 Prize Fellowship in Physiology, Trinity College, Cambridge, England
1968 - 1971 Lederle Medical Faculty Award
1972 Distinguished Teaching Award, UCLA Medical Class
1973 Distinguished Teaching Award, UCLA Medical Class
1975 Distinguished Achievement Award,
American Gastroenterological Association
(for contributions to gastroenterology)
1976 Kaiser Permanente/Golden Apple Teaching Award
(best preclinical teacher)
1976 Bowditch Prize, American Physiological Society
(for contributions to physiology)
1978 American Ornithologists Union, elected fellow
1979 Burr Award, National Geographic Society
(for contributions to biogeography)
1985 - 1990 MacArthur Foundation Fellow
1989 Carr Medal
(for outstanding contributions to knowledge of our natural heritage)
1992 Tanner Lecturer, University of Utah and many other endowed lectureships
1992 Britain's Science Book Prize (Rhone-Poulenc Prize)
1992 Los Angeles Times Science Book Prize
1993 Zoological Society of San Diego Conservation Medal
1994 Skeptics Society, Randi Award
(for excellence and originality in science writing)
1995 Honorary doctor of literature, Sejong University, Korea
(for contributions to understanding the Korean Hangul alphabet)
1996 Faculty Research Lecturer, UCLA
1997 Phi Beta Kappa Science Book Prize
(for an outstanding contribution by a scientist to the literature of science)
1998 Coues Award, American Ornithologists' Union("For contributions to ornithology")
1998 California Book Awards Gold Medal in nonfiction
1998 Britain's Science Book Prize (Rhone-Poulenc Prize),
(for the best popular nonfiction science and technology book for a general readership)
1998 Pulitzer Prize
(for the best book in the category of general nonfiction)



  • J. M. Diamond. The Avifauna of the Eastern Highlands of New Guineas.
    Nuttall Ornithological Club monograph no.12,Boston(1972)
  • M. L. Cody and J. M. Diamond, eds. Ecology and Evolution of Communities.
    Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.(1975)
  • J. M. Diamond and M. LeCroy. Birds of Karkar and Bagabag Islands, New Guinea. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 164:469-531(1979)
  • J. M. Diamond. The Avifaunas of Rennell and Bellona Islands. The Natural History of Rennell Islands, British Solomon Islands 8:127-168(1984)
  • J. M. Diamond and T. J. Case. eds. Community Ecology. Harper and Row, New York(1986)
  • B. Beehler, T. Pratt, D. Zimmerman, H. Bell, B. Finch, J. M. Diamond, and J. Coe. Birds of New Guinea. Princeton University Press,Princeton(1986)
  • J. M. Diamond. The Third Chimpanzee. Shin-yo sha,Tokyo(1993)
  • J. M. Diamond. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies. Soshisha, Japan (in press)
  • J. M. Diamond. Why Is Sex Fun? The Evolution of Human Sexuality. Weidenfeld & Nicolson,London(1997)
Dr. Jared Diamond and villagers from Kordesi Village on the Rovffaer River of Indonesian New Guinea (1990).
Dr. Jared Diamond with twin sons Max and Joshua in garden at home (1992).

Dr. Jared Diamond being interviewed in front of the chimpanzee exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo (1994).

Dr. Jared Diamond crossing a native-built bridge "Jambatan Kedua" over the Okbap River Jayawijaya Mountains, Indonesian New Guinea (1993).

Dr. Jared Diamond and his wife Marie Cohen bird-watching in Alaska (1994).