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Edward O. Wilson was a widely influential biologist, author, professor, and naturalist. Affectionately dubbed “the ant man” for his revolutionary work as an entomologist, Wilson used his expertise in the insect world as a means to explore human nature. He authored over 30 books—including On Human Nature (1979) and The Ants (1991), which each earned him a Pulitzer Prize—that accomplished the dual task of influencing fellow scientists and gaining a wide mainstream audience. A pioneer in the field of biodiversity, he also helped create an entirely new scientific discipline: sociobiology. He was a beloved professor at Harvard University for 46 years, throughout which he inspired a generation of aspiring scientists to care for the earth as he did. He was a leading figure in the global effort to prevent species extinction, advocating for both religious and scientific leaders to be stewards of the earth. Throughout his life and ambitious career, Wilson remained optimistic in his belief that through studying the natural world, we could learn to collectively fight for the wellbeing of our planet.
He died on December 26 in Burlington, Massachusetts, at the age of 92. In honor of one of the most recognized American scientists in modern history, we will be re-broadcasting one of his earlier City Arts & Lectures appearances.
Photo Credit: Jerry Bauer