Alfred Russel Wallace awarded Honorary RICS Membership

Cathy Linacre

Head of Reference Service (RICS)

The great British evolutionary figurehead and land surveyor Alfred Russel Wallace was honoured with posthumous RICS membership at the opening dinner of our Governing Council in London.

Alfred Russel Wallace

Wallace is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection, which prompted Charles Darwin to publish his own ideas in the On the Origin of Species. Wallace began his career as a land surveyor and throughout 2013 RICS is supporting many initiatives as part of the Wallace 100 campaign to raise the profile and public appreciation of his achievements.

One of Wallace’s most famous legacies is the Wallace Line, which separates the flora and fauna of Asia from Australasia and runs between the islands of Bali and Lombok.

The well known comedian and TV personality Bill Bailey presented Wallace's posthumous RICS membership to Dr George Beccaloni, a curator at the Natural History Museum.

Wallace’s ability to interpret complex spatial information, developed while he was a land surveyor, was key to his later ground-breaking work on evolution and biogeography. Myself and Wallace’s surviving family are delighted that RICS has given him posthumous honorary membership as this serves to highlight the importance of his early professional training.
Wallace was an incredibly driven man with a passion for the natural world. His success as a naturalist and scientist was fostered by his career as a land surveyor – he was a fearless explorer and meticulous in all that he did. He would have been thrilled with his RICS honorary membership.

Watch a brief biopic of Alfred Russel Wallace

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