Francisco Ayala, professor of ecology & evolutionary biology, earlier this month traveled to Madrid to accept the Federation of Scientific Societies of Spain’s first-ever Prize for the Public Understanding of Science. UCI’s Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, Ayala has conducted groundbreaking research into parasitic protozoa that may lead to cures for malaria and other diseases. The FSSS honor, which recognizes his body of work, is one of many bestowed upon Ayala this year. He received an honorary degree from The Ohio State University at its 392nd commencement ceremony June 13. A similar degree was awarded in May by the Czech Republic’s University of South Bohemia, and Ayala is slated to get yet another in October from the Universidad del Pais Basco in Bilbao, Spain. On May 5, he accepted the Templeton Prize from England’s Prince Philip in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The $1.51 million prize is bestowed annually upon a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery or practical works. Ayala donated the monetary award to UCI for graduate fellowships in biological sciences.