E. O. Wilson

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Edward Osborne Wilson, better known by his initials E. O. Wilson, is a world-renowned expert in the subject of biology. He was born in Alabama and spent his early years in Washington. Edward moved in with his father after his parents divorced. Wilson had to live with a defective left eye for the rest of his life due to a childhood fishing mishap. Because his infirmity prevented him from studying animals and birds in the field, he focused his research on small organisms like ants and bugs. Thus began a long-term relationship, and he is now widely considered as the world’s top specialist on the study of ants, also known as myrmecology, and he has made significant contributions to new discoveries in this field. In addition to myrmecology, E. O. Wilson is regarded with being the father of socio-biology and biodiversity, two branches of biology. He has written blockbuster books that have gone on to win major awards in addition to his scholarly work. Numerous medals and honors have been bestowed upon him by numerous colleges and organizations around the world. Continue reading to learn more about this illustrious biologist’s life, career, and accomplishments.

Childhood and Adolescence

Wilson was born to Edward Wilson and Inez Wilson on June 10, 1929 in Birmingham, Alabama. Wilson’s family spent most of his boyhood in places near Washington, DC, and Mobile, Alabama.
Wilson’s parents split when he was seven years old in 1936, and he moved home with Edward and his second wife. Wilson had blinded one eye while fishing at this time, and after a cataract operation, his vision in his left eye remained poor.

Wilson has been fascinated by insects since he was a child, and he has a particular fondness for ants, whose habits he has meticulously researched. By the age of 18, he was also interested in flies, but he returned to ant research.
Wilson opted to pursue a career in biology and enrolled at the ‘University of Alabama.’ He received his bachelor’s degree in 1949 and his master’s degree in biology a year later, paving the stage for a tremendously successful career.

Wilson’s passion for study, however, did not cease with his master’s degree from the University of Alabama; in 1955, he went on to Harvard University to get a doctorate in biology. He went on to become a member of the Harvard faculty after that.

Career of E. O. Wilson

Wilson made his first breakthrough in the study of ants in 1955, when he completed a taxonomic investigation of a particular breed of ants known as Lasius and came up with the concept of ‘character displacement’ of species. He collaborated with W. L. Brown on the project.

Wilson had a very fruitful year in 1956, as he was successful in producing multiple discoveries. The first was the discovery of pheromones in ants, which aid communication, and the second was the discovery of the taxon cycle, which documented the shifting habitats of many species.

For many years, he concentrated on the study of ants, eventually publishing his first significant book, ‘The Insect Societies,’ in 1971. The book went on to receive numerous awards and is widely considered to be one of the most authoritative publications on the subject ever written.

In 1975, Wilson coined the term “sociobiology” to describe a new area of biology, and released the book “Sociobiology: The New Synthesis,” which became a well-known but contentious work among academics.
Wilson’s book ‘On Human Nature,’ published in 1979, expanded on the theories he first proposed in connection to socio-biology and applied them to human traits.

He co-authored the book ‘The Ants’ with Bert Holldobler in 1990, and it was the culmination of all of his study on the biological properties of several species of ants. He earned another Pulitzer Prize for the novel.
Wilson worked tirelessly in several disciplines of biological research for decades until resigning from his Harvard teaching position in 1996. He is, however, still a Harvard Professor Emeritus and has a lectureship at ‘Duke University.’

Wilson wrote the book ‘Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge’ in 1998, in which he proposed several ways for the various sciences to be brought together, as well as ways for the sciences to merge with the humanities.

Major Projects of E. O. Wilson

His book ‘Diversity of Life,’ which he published in 1992, went on to become one of the best-selling books of the time, and it illustrated how the extinction of particular species was brought about by human activity.

Achievements & Awards

In 1979, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book “On Human Nature,” which is now considered one of the most important works in the field of sociobiology.

Wilson was awarded the ‘Crandoor Prize’ in 1990 for his hypothesis on island biogeography. The Crandoor Prize is the highest prize in biological sciences awarded by the ‘Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.’
He won the Pulitzer Prize for his groundbreaking book ‘The Ants,’ which he co-authored with Bert Holldobler, in 1991.

He was designated one of the top 25 most influential people in the United States by ‘TIME Magazine,’ one of the most prominent periodicals in the world.

Personal History and Legacy

In 1955, E. O. Wilson married Irene, and the couple currently resides in Lexington, Massachusetts. Catherine, their thirteen-year-old daughter, was born to them thirteen years later.

EO Wilson Net Worth

EO is one of the wealthiest biologists and is on the list of the most popular biologists. EO Wilson’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.