Barry Smith (academic and ontologist) bigraphy, stories - American philosopher

Barry Smith (academic and ontologist) : biography

4 June 1952 -

Barry Smith (born June 4, 1952) is an academic working especially in the fields of ontology and biomedical informatics.

Education and career

From 1970 to 1973 Smith studied Mathematics and Philosophy at the University of Oxford, and in 1976 he obtained his PhD from the University of Manchester for a dissertation on the Ontology of Reference.

From 1976 to 1994 he held appointments in Sheffield, Manchester and Liechtenstein, and in 1994 he moved to the University at Buffalo (New York, USA), where he is currently Julian Park Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Neurology and Computer Science. He is also Research Scientist in the New York State . From 2002 to 2006 he was Director of the (IFOMIS) in Leipzig and Saarbrücken, Germany.

Research activities

Smith is the author of some 500 scientific publications , including 15 authored or edited books. He is also editor of The Monist: An International Quarterly Journal of General Philosophical Inquiry.

Smith's primary research focus is ontology and its applications, especially in biomedical informatics where he has worked on a variety of projects relating to biomedical terminologies and electronic health records. He is leader of the Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) project, a Coordinating Editor of the OBO Foundry and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Gene Ontology Consortium, and the Ontology for Biomedical Investigations (OBI) Working Group.

Smith has received over $12 million in funding for his research in ontology, deriving primarily from the National Institutes of Health, the US, Swiss and Austrian National Science Foundations, the , the , the European Union, and the US Department of Defense.

He has collaborated with Hernando de Soto, Director of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy in Lima, Peru, on the ontology of property rights and social development, and he advises the US Army Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate on ontology technology.

In 2005 Smith founded the (NCOR). In 2006 NCOR initiated the , now series of meetings. Smith was responsible also for initiating the International Conference on Biomedical Ontology .

In 1992 Smith authored a to The Times concerning Jacques Derrida receiving an honorary degree from Cambridge University, in which he set out numerous reasons why he did not support this prospect.


In 2002 Smith received in recognition of his scientific achievements the of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In 2010 he received the first from the University of Turin.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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