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Chatterjee, Sankar 1943-

Chatterjee, Sankar 1943-


Born May 28, 1943, in Calcutta, India; naturalized U.S. citizen; son of Prafulla (a chemist) and Biva (a homemaker) Chatterjee; married Sibani Mitra (a geographer), February 4, 1971; children: Soumya, Shuvu (sons). Ethnicity: "Asian Indian." Education: University of Calcutta, Ph.D., 1970. Religion: Hindu. Hobbies and other interests: Music, literature, travel.


Home—Lubbock, TX. Office—Museum of Texas Tech University, 3301 4th St., Box 43191, Lubbock, TX 79409-3191; fax: 806-742-1136. E-mail—[email protected]


University of California, Berkeley, visiting professor, 1976; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, research fellow, 1977-78; Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Geosciences and curator of paleontology at university museum, 1979—. University of Tübingen, visiting professor, 1994; Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta, visiting professor, 1995-2000.


Geological Society of America (fellow), Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, American Association for the Advancement of Science (fellow).


Antarctic Service Medal, U.S. Department of State, 1982; Headliner Award, Women in Communications, 1992; L. Rama Rao Birth Centenary Award, Geological Society of India, 2006.


(Editor, with Nicholas Hotton III) New Concepts in Global Tectonics, Texas Tech University Press (Lubbock, TX), 1992.

The Rise of Birds: 225 Million Years of Evolution, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1997.

Contributor to journals, including Science, Nature, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Paleontology, Journal of Paleontology, and Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.


Sankar Chatterjee once told CA: "I have been writing scientific articles for the last thirty years in the field of paleontology. Unlike physics and mathematics, paleontology is a historical science, and a literary background is helpful in reconstructing the past history. Paleontologists are storytellers; they tell tales of ancient life. This is why many paleontologists have developed great respect for literature. To me, science and art are different ways of looking at the same thing, namely the world.

"Somehow, science and art have been drifting apart in recent years. The twentieth century has been an age of revolution in science, yet in the United States scientific literacy is in a sad state. A recent National Science Foundation survey showed that fewer than half of American adults understand that the earth orbits the sun. I concur with the observation of the British novelist C.P. Snow that the chasm between scientists and literary intellectuals was so vast that they could not communicate with each other. As a scientist, I believe that it's our task to share the romance of science with the general public. In my book The Rise of Birds: 225 Million Years of Evolution, I have tried to develop a conciliation between the world of science and the world of art.

"I was greatly influenced by the writings of several naturalists, such as Charles Darwin, E.O. Wilson, and Stephen Jay Gould. My favorite poet is Rabindranath Tagore. My son, Soumya, is a gifted writer. He has introduced me to American literature and encouraged me to write."



Auk, July, 1998, Walter J. Bock, review of The Rise of Birds: 225 Million Years of Evolution, p. 808.

BioScience, March, 1998, Kevin Padian, review of The Rise of Birds, p. 206.

Library Journal, October 15, 1997, Bruce D. Neville, review of The Rise of Birds, p. 86.

Nature, May 7, 1998, review of The Rise of Birds, p. 32.

New Scientist, June 6, 1998, Jeff Hecht, review of The Rise of Birds, p. 58.

Sciences, March-April, 1998, Larry D. Martin, review of The Rise of Birds, p. 39.

Times Higher Education Supplement, June 12, 1998, Paul M. Barrett, review of The Rise of Birds, p. 24.


BBC News Online, (January 22, 2007), "Flying Dinos Had Bi-plane Design."

ScienceNOW Daily News, (January 23, 2007), Rhitu Chatterjee, "Dinosaur Double-Decker."

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