E.O. Wilson

E. O. Wilson: Question and Answer Session


E.O. Wilson

E. O. Wilson: Question and Answer Session

Harvard University Professor Emeritus and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes (The Ants and On Human Nature), considered by many to be the father of the modern environmental movement.

Event Details

2006 - 2007 Season

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Speaker Bio

Edward O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard University, is one of the most highly respected scientists in the world today. Hailed as “the new Darwin” by Thomas Wolfe, and one of “America’s 25 Most Influential People” by TIME Magazine, he has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for The Ants and On Human Nature.

Wilson’s book The Diversity of Life, which brought together knowledge of the magnitude of biodiversity and the threats to it, had a major public impact. Today he continues entomological and environmental research at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge draws together the sciences, humanities, and the arts into a broad study of human knowledge, and his The Future of Human Life offers a plan for saving Earth’s biological heritage. In his new book, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, Wilson sounds the alarm that the earth is in danger and its destruction threatens us all–no matter what we believe about its origins. The fate of the planet rests in our hands, he writes, and the only way the earth can be saved is if science and religion join forces.

Wilson has received 75 awards in international recognition for his contributions to science and humanity, including the U.S. National Medal of Science, Japan’s International Prize for Biology, the Cafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Germany’s Terrestrial Ecology Prize, and the Franklin Medal of the American Philosophical Society. For his conservation work he has received the Audubon Medal of the National Audubon Society and the Gold Medal of the World Wide Fund for Nature. He is also the recipient of 27 honorary doctoral degrees from North America and Europe.

Discussion Topics

Developed by the Wilson faculty team for his campus visit

Is Wilson’s reductionist approach applied across organizational levels a currently feasible or a valid way of approaching the human social behavior studied by social science?  Can a natural sciences approach actually work when studying human behavior?

Currently, are there examples of consilience beginning to happen between the social sciences, humanities, and the natural sciences? If so, how can we learn from it and apply those lessons to education at the College level?

What are the 2 or 3 most prominent environmental and social problems that humans will face in the next 100 years and how can we best prepare our students to meet these challenges?

How do we approach students who have an aversion to the types of scientific methods that Wilson promotes?

How do we structure education so that realistically we can have people reach consilience?


Dr. Paul Stephenson, Assistant Professor of Biology

Dr. Kenna Taylor, Professor of Economics & International Business