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About the Society Awards Past Award Winners 2017 Awardees 2017 (Honorary Membership Award) - Louis Jacobs


Louis L. Jacobs is a Professor in Southern Methodist University’s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences and President of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at SMU. He has served as President of the international Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and in 1999 he was Director ad interim of the Dallas Museum of Natural History.  Dr. Jacobs currently serves on the US National Park Service Science Committee Advisory Board, which recommends National Natural Landmarks to the US Department of the Interior. He was named a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, Specially Appointed Professor at Hokkaido University, Japan, a Visiting Professor at the Turkana Basin Institute, Kenya, and a Research Affiliate at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.

Louis received his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Arizona in 1977.  Before joining the SMU faculty, he served as head of the Division of Paleontology at the National Museums of Kenya.  He has conducted extensive field research in Pakistan, Mexico, Kenya, Cameroon, Malawi, Yemen, Israel, Mozambique, Mongolia, and Antarctica, as well as Texas, Alaska, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona and other parts of the United States.  Most recently, his field research is focused on Angola.  

Since 2005 he has been a co-leader of Projecto PaleoAngola, undertaken cooperatively with Agostinho Neto University in Luanda, in order to investigate the environmental and climatic effects of the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean on the evolution of life in the sea and on the land, including the origin of humans.  Projecto PaleoAngola is currently producing an exhibit scheduled to open in 2018 at the Smithsonian Institution’s US National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., following which the exhibit will move permanently to Angola.

Supporters of his research include the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Dinosaur Society, the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society, the Vida Foundation of Angola, Sonangol USA, Esso Angola, the Dallas Museum of Natural History, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man, and The Saurus Institute.  

Among his publications are Quest for the African Dinosaurs: Ancient Roots of the Modern World, Lone Star Dinosaurs, and Cretaceous Airport, as well as over one hundred fifty scientific papers and edited volumes.  His book Lone Star Dinosaurs received recognition by joint resolution of the Texas Legislature. His awards include the Laurence Perrine Phi Beta Kappa Award, the Skoog Cup from the Science Teachers Association of Texas, the Joseph T. Gregory Award of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, the Edwin H. Colbert Award of the Dinosaur Society, SMU University Teacher/Scholar of the Year, the Friends of the Texas Earth Science Teachers Association Award, and the Research and Publication Award of the Dallas Geological Society.  Eight fossil species have been named after him.