Richard Durrett received his Ph.D. in Operations Research from Stanford in 1976. He taught at the UCLA mathematics department for 9 years and at Cornell for 25 years before moving to Duke in 2010. He is author of 8 books and more than 200 journal articles and has supervised more that 45 Ph.D. students. He is a member of the National Academy of Science. Most of his current research concerns the applications of probability to biology: ecology, genetics, and most recently cancer.