Professor Awarded Moore Medal for Excellence in Paleontology

Leo Hickey (Image courtesy of Yale Peabody Museum)

Leo Hickey, Professor of Geology & Geophys­ics and Biology, attended the 2009 President’s Reception and Awards Ceremony sponsored by the Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM) to receive the Raymond C. Moore Medal. The Moore Medal honors researchers who have made signifi­cant contributions to the fields of paleontology and stratigraphy, the study of rock stratification. Hickey’s research focuses on the evolutionary history of flowering plants by studying their com­parative morphology and fossil records.

Much of Hickey’s extensive research began at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., where he studied the structural and evolutionary characteristics of the leaves of flowering plants. Having conducted field work in the Northern Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, Florida Keys, Puerto Rico, Panama, and the Canadian Arctic Islands, Hickey has had unprecedented opportuni­ties to study and collect a vast repertoire of flora.

As part of his meticulous research, Hickey assembled the National Cleared Leaf Collection, an archive of over 6,500 bleached and stained leaves preserved between glass slides. Scientists and scholars from around the world extensively use this database for research in evolution, paleoecology, and comparative morphology of flowering plants.

Before coming to teach at Yale, Hickey was the acting curator for the National Museum of Natural History. He now holds dual appointments as Pro­fessor of Geology and as Curator of Paleobotany at the Peabody Museum. His contributions to the museum, such as the “Petrified Wood: Rainbows in Stone” exhibit, and to the scientific community at large, such as the recent co-authorship of Manual of Leaf Architecture (2009), are lasting and nev­ertheless forthcoming.