This is a beta version of NNDB
Search: for

Edward O. Wilson

Edward O. WilsonAKA Edward Osborne Wilson, Jr.

Born: 10-Jun-1929
Birthplace: Birmingham, AL

Gender: Male
Religion: Agnostic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Biologist, Sociologist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Father of Sociobiology

American entomologist Edward O. Wilson is a founder of the science of evolutionary psychology, and a renowned authority on sociobiology. He is the world's foremost expert on social insects, such as ants, bees, termites, and wasps, and — believing that no species, not even our own, should be excluded from evolutionary analysis — he has extended his field of research to include the role biology plays in the evolution of human society.

His work suggests that human behavior, in the broadest sense, is a naturally selected result of the processes of evolution. Even charity, Wilson argues, may be a genetically-based attribute, and may have evolved through natural selection. Introduced in his 1975 book Sociobiology, such ideas were deemed controversial for their implied or inferred message of "biological destiny," and throughout the 1970s and '80s Wilson was criticized by Stephen Jay Gould and some other respected scientists. The basic premise of his research and writings in this area, however, have been increasingly accepted. In 1995, Time magazine named him one of the 25 most influential people in America.

Wilson believes that the education of third-world women is crucial to saving the environment, as in underdeveloped nations better educated women could help control population growth. He also recommends smaller cars, increased water efficiency, and less meat-eating. His book Biodiversity introduced that term, and he has long been at the forefront of efforts to reduce human-induced environmental degradation. With population biologist Robert MacArthur (1930-1972), he developed a theory explaining the geographical distribution of species on islands.

Father: Edward Osborne Wilson (accountant)
Mother: Linnette Freeman Huddleston
Wife: Irene Kelley ("Renee", m. 1955, one daughter)
Daughter: Catherine (b. 1963)

    High School: Decatur Senior High School, Decatur, AL (1946)
    University: BS Biology, University of Alabama (1949)
    University: MS Biology, University of Alabama (1950)
    Scholar: University of Tennessee (1950-51)
    University: PhD Biology, Harvard University (1955)
    Teacher: Ass't Prof. of Biology, Harvard University (1956-58)
    Teacher: Ass't Prof. of Zoology, Harvard University (1958-64)
    Professor: Zoology, Harvard University (1964-76)
    Professor: Hitchcock Visiting Professor, UC Berkeley (1972-73)
    Professor: Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science, Harvard University (1976-94)
    Professor: Mellon Professor of the Sciences, Harvard University (1990-93)
    Professor: Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University (1994-)

    AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize (1968)
    Guggenheim Fellowship (1976)
    National Medal of Science (1976)
    ANS Joseph Leidy Medal (1979)
    Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction (1979) for On Human Nature
    Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (1985)
    Crafoord Prize (1990)
    AAP R.R. Hawkins Award (1990) for The Ants (with Bert Hölldobler)
    Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction (1991) for The Ants (with Hölldobler)
    Phi Beta Kappa-Prize (1995) for Journey to the Ants (with Hölldobler)
    John P. McGovern Award (1996)
    William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement (1997)
    Benjamin Franklin Medal (1998)
    APA Presidential Citation (1999)
    Humanist of the Year (1999)
    Alabama State Official Entomologist, Alabama Department of Conservation (1946)
    American Academy for Liberal Education Founding Director (1992-)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1959)
    American Humanist Association (1989)
    American Museum of Natural History Board of Directors (1993-)
    American Philosophical Society (1976)
    British Ecological Society Foreign Member (1983)
    Conservation International Board of Directors (1997-)
    Cosmos Club
    David Suzuki Foundation Honorary Board Member
    Entomological Society of America (1987)
    Finnish Academy of Science and Arts Foreign Member (1990)
    German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina Foreign Member (1977)
    Guggenheim Foundation Advisory Board (1977-81)
    Guggenheim Foundation Selection Committee (1982-89)
    Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology Curator in Entomology (1973-97)
    Harvard Society of Fellows Junior Fellow (1953-56)
    International Academy of Humanism Laureate
    Linnean Society of London (1994)
    National Academy of Sciences (1969)
    National Association of Scholars Advisory Board
    National Audubon Society
    National Research Council Science and Technology Board (1984-86)
    National Research Council Committee on Research Opportunities (1985-89)
    National Research Council Committee on Biodiversity (1988-90)
    National Science Foundation Taskforce on Biodiversity (1987-89)
    The Nature Conservancy Board of Directors (1993-)
    New York Botanical Garden Board of Directors (1992-95)
    Phi Beta Kappa Society
    Royal Society Foreign Member (1990)
    Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala (1989)
    Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Foreign Member (1994)
    Society for the Study of Evolution President (1973)
    World Economic Forum (2000)
    World Wildlife Fund Board of Directors (1984-94)
    World Wildlife Fund Executive Committee (1987-92)
    World Wildlife Fund Scientific Advisory Committee (1978-)
    Xerces Society President (1989-90)
    Zoological Society of London (1992)
    Risk Factors: Dyslexia

Author of books:
Tenuis and Selenophora Groups of the Ant Genus Ponera (1957)
Behavior of Daceton armigerum (Latreille) (1962)
The Theory of Island Biogeography (1967, with Robert MacArthur)
A Primer of Population Biology (1971, with Robert MacArthur)
The Insect Societies (1971)
Life on Earth (1973)
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975)
Life: Cells, Organisms, Populations (1977)
Caste and Ecology in the Social Insects (1978, with George F. Oster)
On Human Nature (1978)
Promethean Fire: Reflections On the Origin of Mind (1980)
Genes, Mind and Culture (1981, with Charles J. Lumsden)
Biophilia (1984)
Biodiversity (1988)
Success and Dominance in Ecosystems: The Case of the Social Insects (1990)
The Ants (1990, with Bert Hölldobler)
Reflections on a Life in Science (1991)
The Diversity of Life (1992)
The Biophilia Hypothesis (1993, with Stephen R. Kellert)
Journey to the Ants (1994, with Bert Hölldobler)
Naturalist (1994, memoir)
In Search of Nature (1996)
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998)
The Future of Life (2002)
Pheidole in the New World: A Dominant, Hyperdiverse Ant Genus (2002)
The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth (2006)
Nature Revealed (2006)
The Superorganism (2008, with Bert Hölldobler)
The Diversity of Life (2010)
Kingdom of Ants (2010, with José María Gómez Durán)
The Leafcutter Ants: Civilization by Instinct (2011, with Bert Hölldobler)

Create a map starting with Edward O. Wilson
Requires Flash 7+ and Javascript.

Do you know something we don't?
Submit a correction or make a comment about this profile

Copyright ©2019 Soylent Communications