By April Lacey
Photo Courtesy of The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, September 20, 2004
For the past two years, the editors at Popular Science magazine have scoured the nation looking for a handful of brilliant scientists, and this year they found a UA assistant professor.
Brian Enquist, an assistant professor in evolutionary biology, is now officially a member of the magazine's "Brilliant 10," a list of young scientists who are "gaining notoriety in their own field, but are largely unknown to the general public," said Halle Deaktor, a publicity manager for Popular Science magazine.
Enquist did not know the magazine was considering him but he found out about the distinction in May.
"It was flattering, but somewhat embarrassing because I don't really consider myself brilliant," Enquist said.
Enquist said he is interested in investigating the role of biological diversity, and is "looking for a set of universal laws that describe the rhythms of plant and animal life," according to the October 2004 Popular Science magazine.
Editors at the magazine found their top 10 by asking editors at scientific journals, talking to presidents of scientific organizations and searching places all over the United States where scientists were conducting research.
The editors don't look for a specific field of research because the "Brilliant 10" list is based on the individual's unique contribution to the scientific world, Deaktor said.
Enquist has been a faculty member at the UA for four years and teaches a 300-level class in ecology and evolutionary biology.
Enquist's class focuses on "the diversity in the interaction between the way organisms are put together ('form') and how they work ('function') in response to environmental challenges," according to the class description.
"I chose UA because it has a great reputation for fostering novel research (in the field of ecology)," Enquist said.
If there is one setback that Enquist has overcome it would be the many years he has spent in school, he said.
"It's a long road. You have to go through undergraduate school, grad school, get your doctorate and then apply for jobs," Enquist said.
Enquist says that he enjoys teaching just as much as he enjoys research because they are so often intertwined.
In order to teach, one must research, and when researching with others, you teach each other, Enquist said.
"It is very hard to disentangle the two. I love doing both," Enquist said.