EDWARD O. WILSON
Muse Science Magazine for Kids|July/August 2020
BIOLOGIST, NATURALIST, AUTHOR, SCIENCE PIONEER
Elizabeth Lindstrom

E.O. WILSON, the (other) Ant Man, has made his favorite little creatures familiar to the public. Now Wilson, also known as the Dean of Biodiversity, hopes to draw as much attention to all of the species on our planet, in an effort to save them from human-caused extinction before it is too late. We talked with Wilson in 2007 about the importance of nature in our lives, the survival of life on this planet, and, of course, about his first love, ants.

At 77, the Pellegrino Research Professor Emeritus at Harvard still went to his office on the fourth floor of the Museum of Comparative Zoology on most days. He was working on his 21st book, but admitted to still being “astonished” by the response to his last one, The Creation. Written as an impassioned letter to a Southern Baptist pastor, the book asks that the forces of science and religion put aside their differences about how life began and join together to save it, because “each species, however inconspicuous and humble it may seem to us at the moment, is a masterpiece of biology, and well worth saving.”

YOU’VE SAID THAT BEING A NATURALIST IS NOT JUST AN ACTIVITY, BUT AN HONORABLE STATE OF MIND. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

To be a naturalist is a lifelong calling, even if you only have the opportunity to enjoy nature by going to the outdoors from time to time. The pleasure of it comes from having an endless world to explore—a world that is still mostly beyond human understanding so that always, every time you go out, you find something new. An interest in the study and maintenance of biodiversity is honorable because the future existence of our world depends on it.

YOU’VE ALSO SAID THAT BECOMING A NATURALIST IS NOT LIKE STUDYING ALGEBRA OR LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WOULD-BE NATURALIST?

I’m glad that question was asked. You do not memorize nature or practice studying it with a pencil and paper. You learn it by experiencing it with all of your senses—to see, to smell, to hear, to touch, and to manipulate. It’s perfectly all right when exploring (provided that you’re not in a strictly protected nature reserve) to explore and handle, even to bring back specimens—if they are not endangered species, of course—and to examine them at home.

This is the way children always grew up before we became such an urbanized society. And it is the way that many people came to love the outdoors. In fact, it has proved one of the best routes for producing scientists—not just biologists who have an instilled interest in living organisms, but even physicists and chemists

KIDS TODAY ENJOY USING SMART DEVICES TO FILL THEIR DAYS. DO THEY EVEN NEED NATURE?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

RELATED STORIES

BURGLAR STEALS THE KITTY – BUT LEAVES A CAT!

A CAT burglar who raided the kitty at an Oregon restaurant fled on foot, but left a key clue behind — his personal pet feline, according to cops!

1 min read
Globe
April 19, 2021

DAYS'S BEN TO CIARA: REMEMBER OUR LOVE

A distraught Ben confides in Jake about the situation with Ciara. Jake suggests giving Ciara the memory serum, but Ben notes there are a few issues with that. Jake thinks Ben needs to talk to Ciara and do whatever he can to jog her memory. “Jake pretty much slaps the sense into Ben because Ben is getting beat up by this on a few different rounds trying to get her to remember,” explains Robert Scott Wilson (Ben). “Jake tells him to get over there and keep fighting. Not that Ben’s giving up, but Jake is the one to kind of light a fire under him, so he takes his advice.”

2 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
March 29, 2021

The Time Is Now

Ethan Wilson looks to lead a talented South Alabama club back to a regional

3 mins read
Baseball America
February 2021

Giants head West for toughest opponent so far

The Giants will be faced with one of their biggest challenges of the season when they travel to Seattle to take on Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Although the infamous “12th Man” will be absent in this matchup due to Coronavirus-related restrictions, pulling off a road win in Seattle is still going to be a very tough task for Joe Judge’s team. Now in his ninth season, Wilson is having a spectacular year and is well on his way to winning his first NFL MVP Award. Patrick Graham has the nearly impossible job of figuring out how to contain the Seahawks’ dynamic quarterback. The Giants’ front seven must continue to get in Wilson’s face and not let him escape and make big plays with his legs. They clearly have one of the league’s best offenses, but Seattle’s defense has struggled tremendously this season. Daniel Jones needs to continue to methodically move the ball down the field against this vulnerable Seahawks’ secondary and keep Wilson on the sideline. In order to slow down Wilson, the Giants’ secondary must figure out how to take away his two favorite targets, D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Here are TGI’s keys to victory against Seattle:

2 mins read
The Giant Insider
December 7, 2020

Pittsburgh's August Wilson African American Cultural Center

LOCATED IN THE HEART of downtown Pittsburgh, on Liberty Avenue close to Union Station and the David Lawrence Convention Center, the sleek and elegant but unpretentious August Wilson African American Cultural Center (awaacc) cannot fail to capture the eye and the imagination of anybody who is visiting Pittsburgh or, for that matter, of anybody who lives in the city.

2 mins read
World Literature Today
Autumn 2020

Mission accomplished

Skye Halliday Wilson moves ahead full steam as she realizes her dream of becoming a fitness trainer.

3 mins read
Oxygen
Fall 2020

REBEL: SHE'S GOT GOALS!

FROM 233 TO 183 LBS!

1 min read
Star
September 21, 2020

BIRTH OF A LAWMAN

CIVIL WAR VETERAN VIRGIL EARP WAS JUST SETTLING DOWN IN PRESCOTT WHEN HE JOINED A POSSE. HIS LIFE WAS NEVER THE SAME.

7 mins read
True West
October 2020

Nothing Less

Baltimore and Maryland women stood on the frontlines of the suffrage fight.

10 mins read
Baltimore magazine
August 2020

WOODROW WILSON'S LIBERTARIAN LACKEYS

Beware the temptation to collaborate with the state.

6 mins read
Reason magazine
June 2020