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Stanford biologist Gretchen Daily awarded Sophie Prize

Gretchen Daily

Gretchen Daily

The Sophie Foundation in Oslo, Norway, has awarded Stanford University biologist Gretchen Daily the 2008 Sophie Prize. Established in 1997, the $100,000 prize is awarded annually to individuals or organizations that have "created awareness of alternatives to modern-day development and/or initiated such alternatives in a pioneering or particularly inventive manner," according to the foundation's website.

Daily, a professor of biology and senior fellow at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment, is recognized for pioneering research that blends economics and ecology. The author of three books, including The New Economy of Nature: The Quest to Make Conservation Profitable, Daily co-founded the Natural Capital Project, which is developing practical ways to quantify the economic value of ecosystems and the services they provide.

In its announcement, the Sophie Foundation recognized Daily as a world leader in "the debate on sustainable development and conservation of biological diversity. As a scientist she has shown that there are different ways to put a value on nature. She has shown us that there are also economical arguments for conserving species and eco-systems and demonstrated how this dimension can be included in political decisions. She is an outstanding scientist with a personal strength that has contributed new depth to the eco-system thinking/approach."

The prize will be presented on June 12 at a ceremony in Oslo.

The Sophie Foundation was founded by Norwegian author and environmentalist Jostein Gaarder, author of the novel Sophie's World, and his wife, Siri Dannevig, who teaches dramatic arts in Norway.