Peter H. Raven, an accomplished botanist, was born in Shanghai, the son of an American businessman temporarily in China. He grew up in the United States. He received a B.A. with highest honors from the University of California Berkeley (1957) and a Ph.D. from UCLA (1960). He was a National Science fellow at the British Museum of Natural History (1960-61), and a taxonomist and curator at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden (1961-62) before joining the faculty of Stanford University (1992-71). He became Engelmann Professor of botany at Washington University, St. Louis, and director of the Missouri Botanical Garden (1971). An authority on plant taxonomy, especially of the fuschia family, he also made major contributions to the ethnobotany of Mayan Mexico, coevolution of both plants and animals, and population ecology. He was an outspoken advocate of conservation of rainforests. He received a MacArthur Fellowship (1985) for his life's work. He is the author or co-author of numerous books and articles including Biology of Plants (6th ed., 1999), Environment (2nd ed., 1998).