Richard Fortey studied geology at the University of Cambridge and had a long career as a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. Prof. Fortey’s research interests include, above all, trilobites. He has stated that he found his first one when he was 14, and the interest later turned into a career. He has named numerous trilobite species and still continues his research despite having retired from the Museum.Fortey studies trilobites and graptolites, especially those from the Ordovician, and their systematics, evolution and modes of life. He is also involved in research on Ordovician palaeogeography and correlation; arthropod evolution, especially the origin of major groups; and the relationships between divergence times as revealed by molecular evidence and the fossil record.
In 1993, Fortey's The Hidden Landscape was named the Natural World Book of the Year. Since 1997, he has been a member of the Royal Society.Life was short-listed for the Rhône-Poulenc Prize in 1998; Trilobite! was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2001.He was Collier Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology at the Institute of Advanced Studies in 2002.He has won the Lewis Thomas Prize for science writing (2003) and is the 2006 holder of the Royal Society's Michael Faraday Prize for the public communication of science. He has also turned his pen to writing dinosaur poems for children and even a spoof book on the Rubik's Cube.
Professor Fortey was elected President of the Geological Society of London for its bicentennial year of 2007 and was recently awarded an honorary degree by the University of St Andrews.He was elected in 2009 a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature
Fortey appeared in "Putting Flesh on Bone", the second episode of David Attenborough's Lost Worlds Vanished Lives in 1989. He also appeared on BBC Two's "University Challenge - The Professionals" in 2004, as a member of the Palaeontological Association team, who beat the Eden Project.He was also one of the scientists who worked on the Discovery Channel program The Future Is Wild.