Australia’s Spiderman wins 2018 Queensland Museum Medal

17 August 2018

Queensland Museum is delighted to announce its Head, Terrestrial Biodiversity, & Principal Curator, Dr Robert Raven has been awarded the prestigious 2018 Queensland Museum Medal for his contribution to science and research in the field of Arachnology.

Awarded during National Science Week, the Queensland Museum Medal has recognised some of Australia’s foremost scientists, conservationists, naturalists and community leaders.

Queensland Museum Chairperson David Conry says the high calibre of work by all nominees was overwhelming, however there could only be one winner.

“We are proud to announce Dr Raven as the 2018 Queensland Museum Medal recipient as his work embodies the museum vision of bringing together the scientific research and preserving history for the future,” Mr Conry said.

“Dr Raven has described more than 400 spider species throughout his career, with 23 new species described in 2018. We applaud Dr Raven for his contribution to arachnology, not only locally but internationally, and for allowing us to better understand spiders and their important role in biodiversity.

“His contribution to our museum, the science community and the people of Queensland leave me no doubt that he is to be regarded as one the states treasures himself.”

Dr Raven started his career at Queensland Museum in 1974 and has described new spider species from Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Colombia, Peru, Panama, Mexico, India, south-east Asia, New Guinea.

Acting CEO and Director of Queensland Museum Network Dr Jim Thompson said it’s an honour to be able to acknowledge the work of Dr Robert Raven, a museum employee for 44 years, who is the epitome of scientific research and knowledge.

“On behalf of Queensland Museum we would like to congratulate Robert for his contribution to science and his desire for wider audiences to better understand arachnids,” Dr Thompson said.

“His ongoing fieldwork and discovery of over 400 spider species is quite an achievement and a major legacy of the work he has accomplished, which will inspire researchers for years and decades to come.”

Dr Raven says it’s a great honour to be awarded the 2018 Queensland Museum Medal and to be in such prestigious company of those in the scientific and research community.

“I have been studying spiders for 40 years and it’s the best job in the world, so I would like to thank Queensland Museum and my colleagues for this incredible recognition of the research and outcomes we have achieved in the field of arachnology,” Dr Raven said.

“I’ve been bitten by close to 90 species of spiders, but that’s never stopped me doing what I love,

because what fascinates me about them is when you think you know everything they show you

something that’s so far out of left field you can’t believe it and that’s exciting.

“I’m looking forward to passing on my knowledge and experience. Students from India, Brazil and

throughout Australia have all come to the museum to learn about spiders so, hopefully, somebody will take up the mantle and continue studying these amazing creatures as a career.”

Dr Raven has named many spiders after well-known identities including Aussie surfer Mick Fanning, actors Jack Nicholson, Judi Dench and Helen Mirren, Professor Brian Greene (World Science Festival Co-Founder); and singer Bob Marley.

Previous Queensland Medal award winners include:

  • Professor Ron Quinn AM - Director of the Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery (2003-2016)
  • Dr John Stanisic - Australia’s foremost expert on land snails
  • Dr John Hooper - Head of Biodiversity and Geosciences at the Queensland Museum
  • Sir David Attenborough - English broadcaster, writer, and naturalist
  • Steve Irwin – ‘Crocodile Hunter’, conservationist and television personality

ENDS

Media
media@qm.qld.gov.au
Kylie Hay, Senior Media Officer, 3842 9388 | 0434 565 852
Christine Robertson, Senior Media Officer, 3840 7789 | 0417 741 710