Edward O. Wilson – University Professor at Harvard, winner of two Pulitzer prizes, eloquent champion of biodiversity – is arguably one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. His career represents both a blueprint and a challenge to those who seek to explore the frontiers of scientific understanding. Yet, until now, little has been told of his life and of the important events that have shaped his thought.
In Naturalist, Wilson describes for the first time both his growth as a scientist and the evolution of the science he has helped define. He traces the trajectory of his life – from a childhood spent exploring the Gulf Coast of Alabama and Florida to life as a tenured professor at Harvard – detailing how his youthful fascination with nature blossomed into a lifelong calling. He recounts with drama and wit the adventures of his days as a student at the University of Alabama and his four decades at Harvard University, where he has achieved renown as both teacher and researcher.
As the narrative of Wilson's life unfolds, the reader is treated to an inside look at the origin and development of ideas that guide today's biological research. Theories that are now widely accepted in the scientific world were once untested hypotheses emerging from one mans's broad-gauged studies. Throughout Naturalist, we see Wilson's mind and energies constantly striving to help establish many of the central principles of the field of evolutionary biology.
The story of Wilson's life provides fascinating insights into the making of a scientist, and a valuable look at some of the most thought-provoking ideas of our time.
PART I. Daybreak in Alabama
Chapter 1. Paradise Beach
Chapter 2. Send Us the Boy
Chapter 3. A Light in the Corner
Chapter 4. A Magic Kingdom
Chapter 5. To Do My Duty
Chapter 6. Alabama Dreaming
Chapter 7. The Hunters
Chapter 8. Good-Bye to the South
Chapter 9. Orizaba
PART II. Storyteller
Chapter 10. The South Pacific
Chapter 11. The Forms of Things Unknown
Chapter 12. The Molecular Wars
Chapter 13. Islands Are the Key
Chapter 14. The Florida Keys Experiment
Chapter 15. Ants
Chapter 16. Attaining Sociobiology
Chapter 17. The Sociobiology Controversy
Chapter 18. Biodiversity, Biophilia