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Remembering Thomas Taylor


September 16, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to let you know that Thomas N. Taylor, the curator of paleobotany at the University of Kansas’ Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum and a prominent U.S. Antarctic Program paloebotanist, passed away last week.

Tom joined the University of Kansas’ Department of Botany in 1996. The Paleobotanical Division in the university’s Natural History Museum has the largest collection of Antarctic plants in the world, many of which Tom brought with him when he moved to Kansas from the Ohio State University, where he had taught plant biology and paleobotany for more than 20 years and had been a senior research scientist at the Byrd Polar Research Center.

In addition to his Antarctic research, which spanned decades, Tom also served as a member of the National Science Board (NSB) from 2006 to 2012. While on the board, he also served on the NSB’s Committee on Strategy and Budget - Task Force on Cost Sharing and its Task Force for the NSF 60th Anniversary and Subcommittee on Polar Issues.

Tom was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1994.

He was co-author of several books, including a 1995 textbook, “The Biology and Evolution of Fossil Plants,” which he co-authored with his wife, Edith.

Taylor earned his bachelor's degree in botany and geology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and his doctorate in paleobotany at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University.

He was a highly valued participant and promoter of the polar research community and he will be missed.

Dr. Kelly K. Falkner
Director, Division of Polar Programs

Dr. Scott Borg
Section Head, Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2020 budget of $8.3 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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