Prof. Robert Reisz

Getting Out and Seeing the World

Paleontology gives him the cherished opportunity to explore the globe. But it's not just the fossils that fascinate him... it's the people, too.


Prof. Robert Reisz is a paleontologist and Chair of the Biology Department at the University of Toronto Mississauga. We ask him everything from what historical figure he would like to meet to what’s on his playlist in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What inspired you to become a scientist?
Somehow, I always wanted to be a scientist, being fascinated by the world around me. However, I fell in love with paleontology totally by chance when I took a course, out of curiosity, as an undergraduate student at McGill University.

What do you read?
Mainly science fiction.

What’s on your playlist?
A lot of books and science fiction movies, but also a huge collection of music ranging from classical and jazz, all the way to rock (no country music).

If you could meet any historical figure who would it be and why?
There are too many that I would like to meet, but from a very personal perspective I would like to meet David, the king of Israel and Judah. He was one of the most important figures in Judaism and the history of the Jewish people, an apparently complex and flawed figure that has had a prominent role in several cultures and religions.

What do you like to do for fun?
Although I like to read and watch movies, my work also provides a lot of fun for me because of the opportunities to travel, do field work in exotic places, and meet very interesting people.

Interested in Robert Reisz’s work? Check out his Orange Chair Interview and our blog post on his discovery of prehistoric biological material in dinosaur fossils.