Book - 1994
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Edward O. Wilson -- University Professor at Harvard, winner of two Pulitzer prizes, eloquent champion of biodiversity -- is arguably one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. His career represents both a blueprint and a challenge to those who seek to explore the frontiers of scientific understanding. Yet, until now, little has been told of his life and of the important events that have shaped his thought.In Naturalist, Wilson describes for the first time both his growth as a scientist and the evolution of the science he has helped define. He traces the trajectory of his life -- from a childhood spent exploring the Gulf Coast of Alabama and Florida to life as a tenured professor at Harvard -- detailing how his youthful fascination with nature blossomed into a lifelong calling. He recounts with drama and wit the adventures of his days as a student at the University of Alabama and his four decades at Harvard University, where he has achieved renown as both teacher and researcher.As the narrative of Wilson's life unfolds, the reader is treated to an inside look at the origin and development of ideas that guide today's biological research. Theories that are now widely accepted in the scientific world were once untested hypotheses emerging from one mans's broad-gauged studies. Throughout Naturalist, we see Wilson's mind and energies constantly striving to help establish many of the central principles of the field of evolutionary biology.The story of Wilson's life provides fascinating insights into the making of a scientist, and a valuable look at some of the most thought-provoking ideas of our time.
Publisher: Washington, D.C. : Island Press/Shearwater, c1994
ISBN: 9781559632881
Characteristics: xii, 380 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm


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May 24, 2019

one of the best scientists who can write marvelously and he does write about his life

Dec 13, 2016

If this book had been assigned as part of that long list of books for zoology in college (50 years ago) this would have been a difficult read. I can't say it has taken me this long to catch up to E.O. Wilson's philosophy of the natural science and its place in our world, but at this point in my life, this book means a lot to me.

Wilson's writing is succinct and to the point. How he became a scientist, a naturalist, is an example of how many naturalists, trained and untrained, started out, as children taken to natural places. It could be one's backyard where you could lift a stepping stone to find a salamander or centipede, or seeing butterflies and other insects interacting with plants. And if you lived near the coast, trips to the sea shore where the tide pools were filled with a myriad of arthropods.

This memoir of Wilson's life demonstrates the tenacity with which he tackles whatever challenges him in the name of science and beyond. His decision early on (before college) to become an entomologist grows from his love of insects, and yet he has a wider view, how things are interdependent upon one another. His genuine thirst for knowledge also plays a part in how he lives his life.

And importantly, his writing delves into his relations with his fellow man, including colleagues. Wilson is never threatened by how another person might behave towards him. He is magnanimous in his dealings, while not hiding his opinions of others whose respect he has lost.

Nov 13, 2014

A wonderfully intimate sharing of E.O.
Wilson's childhood, his fascination and study of ants is unforgettable.


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