Sir David Attenborough has dedicated his life to the natural world and environmental causes. His work has raised awareness of the threats that habitats face, and it reminds us how we are all connected. It's this devotion to science that has earned him multiple honors and awards. It's really awe-inspiring to see how many he has, using a unique metric to shine a light on just how many he holds. As pointed out by the Twitter account No Context Brits, Sir David Attenborough has more letters after his name than in it.
David Attenborough's name comprises 17 letters, or 20 if you want to throw the “Sir” distinction he earned when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1985. After those, there are 36 more letters pertaining to the multiple orders he has been awarded and societies he's a member of. These letters are: OM, GSMG, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FSA, FRSA, FLS, FZS, FRSGS and FRSB.
But what do these letters mean? It's easier to first divide them among orders and societies. The former are the Order of Merit (OM), Order of St Michael and St George (GSMG), Order of the Companions of Honour (CH), the Royal Victorian Order (CVO), and Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). These are handed out by the Royal Family for “exceptional service” and “major contributions” towards the advancement of the Arts, Learning, Literature, and Science.
The latter are fellowships that illustrate Attenborough's wide array of interests and topics he's an expert in. These are the Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), which is given following a peer-review process on the basis of excellence in science. Additionally, there is the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA), the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), the Linnean Society of London (FLS), the Zoological Society of London (FZS), the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (FRSGS), and the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB).
Beyond his titles, the virtues of the 96-year-old naturalist have reached far and wide. His love for nature can be traced back to childhood when he spent his days collecting fossils, stones, and natural specimens. Attenborough went on to study Natural Sciences at Cambridge before joining the BBC as a producer in 1952. Throughout the English-speaking world, he is known for his contributions to the natural history documentary genre, particularly the powerful Life collection, which covers the subjects of animal and plant life on Earth.
While the honors he has gotten pay tribute to his achievements and dedication, his true pride likely resides in every person who decides to take a stand to protect our planet.
Sir David Attenborough's devotion to science has earned him multiple honors and awards. Due to this, as pointed out by the Twitter account No Context Brits, he has more letters after his name than in it.
David Attenborough has more letters after his name than in it. pic.twitter.com/50aVegs0VG
— No Context Brits (@NoContextBrits) March 28, 2023