Institute for Cambrian Studies
About the Institute for Cambrian Studies

The Institute for Cambrian Studies (ICS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to international research in the Cambrian System. The objectives and purposes of the ICS are exclusively to promote the scientific study of the Cambrian System in all its aspects in all parts of the world, including but not restricted to (1) promotion of the exchange of scholarly information through publication of newsletters, articles, and books of timely interest to the scientific community; (2) sponsorship or co-sponsorship of scientific conferences; and (3) promotion of scientific research through grants-in-aid to qualified scientists, advanced graduate students, and public institutions.

The internationally important Research Library and Collections of the ICS consist of (1) a vast library of Cambrian literature (published and unpublished); (2) an extensive database of Cambrian fossil occurrences and species synonymies; (3) an extensive collection of Cambrian fossil specimens; and (4) replicas of type specimens of many Cambrian trilobite species. These resources are used by many international scholars and students, and the ICS is considered by many Cambrian paleontologists to be a key information hub for Cambrian research.


The ICS was formed in 1981 with residual private funds from the Second International Symposium on the Cambrian System (held that year at the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado). These funds grew with investment and donations from patrons. Charter members of the Board of Directors were A. R. (Pete) Palmer (President), R. A. Robison, A. J. Rowell, and M. E. Taylor. Stew Hollingsworth also served as Secretary-Treasurer until 2016.

In 2006, after 25 years devoted to the day-to-day running and development of the ICS, Pete Palmer announced his intention to step down from presidency. That year the internationally important Research Library and Collections of the ICS, previously managed and maintained by Palmer in Boulder CO, were transferred to their present location at the Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, and the Board of Directors approved Mark Webster as the new president.

Current Board of Directors

Mark Webster, Department of the Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago (President)
James W. Hagadorn, Denver Museum of Nature and Science (Secretary-Treasurer)
Nigel Hughes, Department of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside (Board Member)
Loren Babcock, School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University (Board Member)
A. R. (Pete) Palmer, Boulder, CO (Past President)