Mike Bruton was born in the city where the first coelacanth was caught, East London, and studied at Rhodes University under the legendary JLB Smith. After graduating with a BSc (Honours) he was stationed at Rhodes University’s Lake Sibaya Research Station in northern Zululand where he did the field work for his postgraduate degrees. After a post-doctoral year at the Natural History Museum in London he returned to Rhodes where he was initially Senior Lecturer in Ichthyology and then Director of the Ichthyology Institute. His research around the world, some of which he will describe in his talk, lead to entanglements with crocodiles, hippos, giant snakes, military operations, irate professors and government bureaucracy, of which the latter was the most treacherous.
After a distinguished career as a researcher and research administrator he has spent most of the last 20 years of his career developing interactive science centres and museums in Southern Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa in 1984 and has received many other accolades and awards, including the Life Time Achievement Award from the National Science & Technology Forum in 2001, Chevalier dans l’Orde des Palmes Academique from the French Government in 2001, and an honorary Doctorate in Science from Rhodes University in 2012.
He wrote his autobiography, ‘When I was a Fish. Tales of an Ichthyologist’ after hours and during traffic jams in 2014 while working in Bahrain as Director of the Bahrain Science Centre.”