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Department of Zoology


This year’s John Ray Science prize has been awarded to Tom Evans, based on his Part II Zoology project, supervised by Dr Philine zu Ermgassen.  At the award ceremony, Tom has been asked to give a short presentation to sixthformers at Notley High School in Braintree, the school where Ray received his early education .

The John Ray Trust is an educational charity and is inspired by the work of the botanist John Ray (1627-1705).  Its principal objectives are to advance the education of the public in the natural sciences and to promote increased awareness and appreciation of the work of John Ray.  

John Ray was born in 1627 in the small village of Black Notley, Essex; his father was a blacksmith.  Ray entered University at the young age of sixteen, going on to become a highly influential English naturalist and botanist whose contributions to taxonomy are considered ground-breaking and historic.  Ray formulated the fundamental principles of plant classification into cryptogams, monocotyledons and dicotyledons in his landmark works “Catalogus plantarum Angliae” (1670) and “Methodus plantarum nova” (1682). Other major publications of Ray include “Historia generalis plantarum” (3 volumes, 1686-1704) and “The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of the Creation” (1691), both of which became quite influential during his time.  The zoological contributions of Ray include the development of the most natural pre-Linnaean classification of the animal kingdom.  He was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1667.  Ray endorsed scientific empiricism as compared to the deductive rationalism of the scholastics.

For further information, see the Trust’s website: