Terrie Williams honored with 2024 National Academy of Sciences Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal

Terrie M. Williams is a comparative ecophysiologist from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The National Academy of Sciences will honor 20 individuals with awards recognizing  their extraordinary scientific achievements in a wide range of fields spanning the physical, biological,  social, and medical sciences. 

Among the esteemed awardees is Terrie M. Williams, a comparative ecophysiologist from the University of California, Santa Cruz, who will be honored with the 2024 NAS Award in the Evolution of Earth and Life - Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal. 

Williams, renowned for her groundbreaking work in the ecological physiology of large mammals, will receive the award, accompanied by a $20,000 prize.

“I am so excited to be standing on the shoulders of the previous recipients of this award. One of the first, nearly a century ago was Ernest Thomspon Seton, a personal hero of mine. His books and illustrations detailing the lives of wild animals inspired my entire career,” Williams said. “I’m working on an illustrated book of big mammals hoping to emulate his awe of nature.”   

Williams' profound impact on the field of ecological physiology stems from her fundamental contributions to understanding the functioning of large mammals within their varied habitats. Her research has transformed our comprehension of the ecological significance of large carnivores, unraveling the physiological adaptations crucial for species survival in an ever-changing world shaped by human impacts.

Delving into the metabolic, cardiovascular, neural, and thermal physiology of terrestrial and aquatic mammals, Williams has meticulously detailed the intricate relationships between animals and their environment. Her innovative micro-technologies have facilitated field measurements of the physiology of free-ranging mammals, including Arctic narwhals, sea otters, African lions, seals, and polar bears.

The Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal, bestowed in recognition of a most meritorious, recently published work in zoology or paleontology, serves as a testament to Williams' exemplary contributions. 

The winners will be honored in a ceremony during the National Academy of Sciences’ 161st annual meeting on April 28, 2024.

About the National Academy of Sciences

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in  science by election to membership, and — with the National Academy of Engineering and the National  Academy of Medicine — provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal  government and other organizations.