Richard Dawkins was born in Nairobi in 1941 and educated at Oxford University completing his undergraduate studies in 1962 but remaining for his doctorate under the supervision of ethnologist Niko Tinbergen. Between 1967 and 1969 Dawkins was Assistant Professor of Zoology at the University of California in Berkeley. In 1970 he became Lecturer in Zoology at Oxford where he has remained since. In 1995 Dawkins became the first person to hold the newly endowed Charles Simonyi Chair of the Public Understanding of Science. In 1997 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Dawkins is an ardent materialist whose writings have sparked heated interest regarding human culture and evolution in quarters both biological and theological. Dawkins participated in the Glasgow Centenary Gifford Lectures lecturing on ‘Worlds in Microcosm’. This lecture along with the other Gifford centenary lectures at the University of Glasgow were edited by Neil Spurway and published as Humanity Environment and God.
Among Dawkins’s more notable publications are The Selfish Gene (1978) The Blind Watchmaker (1986) River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (1995) Climbing Mount Improbable (1996) Unweaving the Rainbow: Science Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder (1998) and The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution (2004).