Jared Mason Diamond is an American geographer, historian, anthropologist, and author best known for his popular science books The Third Chimpanzee (1991); Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997, awarded a Pulitzer Prize); Collapse (2005); and The World Until Yesterday (2012) and Upheaval (2019). Originally trained in physiology, Diamond is known for drawing from a variety of fields, including anthropology, ecology, geography, and evolutionary biology. He is a professor of geography at UCLA.
In 2005, Diamond was ranked ninth on a poll by Prospect and Foreign Policy of the world's top 100 public intellectuals.
After graduation from Cambridge, Diamond returned to Harvard as a Junior Fellow until 1965, and, in 1968, became a professor of physiology at UCLA Medical School. While in his twenties he developed a second, parallel, career in ornithology and ecology, specialising in New Guinea and nearby islands. Later, in his fifties, Diamond developed a third career in environmental history and became a professor of geography at UCLA, his current position. He also teaches at LUISS Guido Carli in Rome. He won the National Medal of Science in 1999 and Westfield State University granted him an honorary doctorate in 2009.
Diamond originally specialized in salt absorption in the gall bladder. He has also published scholarly works in the fields of ecology and ornithology, but is arguably best known for authoring a number of popular-science books combining topics from diverse fields other than those he has formally studied. Because of this academic diversity, Diamond has been described as a polymath.
Apart from Pulitzer Prize in 1997, Diamond was awarded also the MacArthur Genius Grant (1985), Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science (1997), Royal Society Prize for Science Books (1992, 1998 & 2006), International Cosmos Prize (1998), National Medal of Science (1999), Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (2001) and Wolf Prize in Agriculture (2013).