Skip to main content Skip to footer

David Baum

College positions:
Visiting Fellow
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Contact details:

Professor David Baum

David A. Baum is Professor (and former Chair) in the Botany Department and Fellow of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he conducts research in evolutionary biology, plant genetics, and the origin and early evolution of life.

He obtained an undergraduate degree in Botany at Oxford University, a Ph.D. in Population and Evolutionary Biology from Washington University, and then conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin. He served on the faculty of the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, earning tenure in 2000, before returning to the University of Wisconsin in 2001. Baum has published two books and ~130 research publications. Historically, Baum is known for work in phylogenetic theory, plant systematics, pollination biology, evolutionary developmental genetics, and for the “inside-out” theory for the origin of eukaryotic cells. His current focus is on origins of life and adaptive evolution in the absence of cellular genetics; his lab utilizes both theoretical and experimental approaches to explore the earliest steps in the evolution of chemical systems on the path to life as we know it.

At Clare Hall, David is accompanied by his wife, Dr. Ruth Litovsky. She is the Oros Family Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Associate Dean for the Natural and Mathematical Sciences in the College of Letters and Sciences, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She studies binaural hearing in adults and in children, with a particular focus on cochlear implant users and hearing in complex environments.

Select publications

Select Awards

  • National Science Foundation Career Award 1999
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2006
  • John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship 2008
  • UW-Madison, Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award 2016

Further links