Harvard College professor and Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson takes a break from trying to find bugs within the Walden Pond State Reservation in Harmony, Mass., in 1998. Wilson died on Sunday on the age of 92. Thomas James Hurst/AP conceal caption
Pioneering biologist, environmental activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning creator Edward O. Wilson has died. He was 92.
The influential and generally controversial Harvard professor first made his title learning ants — he was typically generally known as « the ant man. » However he later broadened his scope to the intersection between human habits and genetics, creating the sphere of sociobiology within the course of. He died on Sunday in Burlington, Mass., the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Basis stated in an announcement on its web site.
« His influence extends to each aspect of society, » the muse’s chairman, David J. Prend, stated in a press release. « He was a real visionary with a novel means to encourage and provoke. He articulated, maybe higher than anybody, what it means to be human. »
Prend described Wilson as a « relentless synthesizer of concepts » whose « brave scientific focus and poetic voice reworked our approach of understanding ourselves and our planet. »
As an entomologist whose early profession got here at a time when scientists have been gaining a deeper understanding of genetic mechanisms, resembling DNA, Wilson studied how ant habits developed via pure choice.
He first gained huge notoriety for his 1975 e book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis wherein he expounded on proof that human habits was influenced by genetics.
Wilson argued that our genes guided our social behaviors — all the things from warfare to altruism. That concept prompted a pointy backlash from fellow lecturers and activists who equated organic determinism with the eugenics motion of the early twentieth century and Nazi Germany.
However his concepts outlasted the critics and finally turned broadly accepted, not solely in academia however among the many common public.
Wilson later capitalized on his fame to take up the reason for biodiversity and environmentalism. Amongst different issues, he advocated for setting apart half of the Earth as wilderness.
Chatting with NPR in 2016, he stated the destiny of the planet « is within the fingers of the folks, of nations, significantly our personal, which have the power to alter issues. »
Fellow biologist Richard Dawkins tweeted: « Unhappy information of demise of Ed Wilson. Nice entomologist, ecologist, best myrmecologist, invented sociobiology, pioneer of island biogeography, genial humanist & biophiliac. »
However such was his affect that musician Paul Simon additionally tweeted his unhappiness at Wilson’s passing — calling him « an awesome scientist » and « expensive pal. »
« Ed was an mental large and a mild, humble, compassionate man, » Simon stated.
Wilson authored greater than 30 books and gained two Pulitzer Prizes. Amongst his quite a few scientific prizes have been the U.S. Nationwide Medal of Science and the Crafoord Prize.
Wilson is survived by his daughter, Catherine. No trigger was given for his demise.
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