March 19, 2009
Vol. 28 No. 12

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    Levi-Setti awarded for paleontology work

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    Riccardo Levi-Setti, Professor Emeritus in Physics and the College, has received the Fifth International Prize for Investigations in Paleontology from the United Paleontological Foundation in Teruel-Dinopolis, of Spain’s autonomous Aragon region.

    The award recognized a paper titled, “The eyes of trilobites: The oldest preserved visual system,” published in the journal Arthropod Structure and Development in 2006.

    The University of Edinburgh’s Euan Clarkson and Lorand Eötvös University’s Gabor Horváth co-authored the article with Levi-Setti. To celebrate the award, the authors prepared a non-technical version of the paper, which was translated into Spanish and the Aragon government published in a beautifully illustrated booklet.

    Now extinct, trilobites lived throughout the world’s oceans from approximately 520 million to 250 million years ago. Researchers have distinguished three types of trilobite eyes, although some varieties had no eyes at all.

    Levi-Setti received official notice of his award via the Aragon government.

    “To be honored by the Gobierno de Aragon was particularly ironical for me, since my grandmother’s ancestors were kicked out of Spain in 1492 by the same government, by order of Fernando and Isabella,” Levi-Setti said.

    The award complements another recognition of Levi-Setti’s extramural trilobite exploits. In 2008, at the Tucson Fossil and Minerals Annual Show, he was awarded the Charles H. Sternberg Medal of Association of Applies Paleontological Sciences for outstanding lifetime achievement in the field of paleontology.