Date: February 11, 2009, 7:30 pm
Location: IMU Main Lounge
His accomplishments include pioneering work on chemical communication in the 1950s to 1970s, featuring a first comprehensive account of pheromones in ants, and (with William H. Bossert) a first evolutionary analysis of the physical and chemical properties of pheromones; the creation (with Robert H. MacArthur) of the theory of island biogeography, a basic part of modern ecology and conservation biology; the creation of the discipline of sociobiology, in 1975; the first modern syntheses of knowledge of social insects (1971) and (with Bert Hslldobler) of ants in particular, in 1990. He also edited the volume Biodiversity, which in 1988 introduced the term and launched worldwide attention to the subject. In 1984, with Biophilia, he introduced the concept of a genetically based tendency to affiliate and bond with parts of the natural world. His The Diversity of Life (1992), 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. Two of his 21 books have been awarded Pulitzer prizes: On Human Nature (1978) and The Ants (1990, co-authored with Bert Hslldobler).
Wilson's book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975) extended neo-Darwinism into the study of social behavior. Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998) draws together the sciences, humanities, and the arts into a broad study of human knowledge. His book, The Future of Life (2002), offers a plan for saving Earth's biological heritage. His most recent book The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life On Earth (2006) concerns the survival of our planet. Written in the form of an impassioned letter, it demonstrates the idea that all should be concerned with our planet's welfare, those of faith and science and alike.
In addition to his books, Dr. Wilson has written over 400 articles, most for scientific journals. Wilson has received some 75 awards in international recognition for his contributions to science and humanity. 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