Message from Polar Senior Leadership the passing of Thomas N. Taylor
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 paleobotanist, passed away last week.
He 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 he 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, Taylor 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.
He 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.
Kelly K. Falkner, Division Director, Polar Programs