“I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored.” -David Attenborough
Of all the people that bring awareness to the beauty of nature, few will ever reach the caliber of Sir David Attenborough.
Born in west London in May 8, 1926, Attenborough was fascinated by nature and was encouraged by his parents to pursue his interests at a very young age. He collected fossils and rocks, and even collected newts for the University of Leicester’s Zoology Department.
He went on to earn a degree in Natural Sciences from Clare College, Cambridge. A few years later, he began to work for the BBC and hosted his first documentary series, Zoo Quest, in 1954. Attenborough has hosted and narrated many other series over the course of his career, including: Life on Earth, The Living Planet, The Trials of Life, Planet Earth, The Life of Birds*, The Life of Mammals*, The Blue Planet*, and Wildlife Specials*.
His career has garnered him a great deal of recognition, including 31 honorary degrees from universities in Britain alone—a feat unmatched by anyone else. He has received several awards for excellence in television, including awards from BAFTA and the National Television Awards. The Royal Society awarded Attenborough the Michael Faraday Prize in 2003. The IUCN bestowed the John C. Phillips Memorial Medal in 2012 for his contributions to conservation. He has is a member of three prestigious dynastic orders, receiving knighthood in 1985, Companion of Honour in 1996, and the Order of Merit in 2005.
The following video is Sir David’s rendition of the Louis Armstrong classic, “What a Wonderful World.” As with most things related to Attenborough’s work, you will want to go full screen for this one. I hope it gives you the same goosebumps it gives me.
*The series marked with an asterisk above can be streamed on Netflix, and it is highly recommended that you watch them. For the highlights of these documentaries and more, check out the BBC’s highlight reel of Attenborough’s illustrious career.
Today marks Sir David’s 88th birthday. From all of us at IFLScience: Happy birthday, Sir David. Thank you so much for all of the inspiration you have given us over the years.