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E. O. Wilson
E. O. Wilson standing, October 16, 2007.jpg
Wilson in 2007
Edward Osborne Wilson

(1929-06-10)June 10, 1929
Died December 26, 2021(2021-12-26) (aged 92)
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Alabama
Harvard University
Known for biodiversity, sociobiology, evolution, ants
Awards Pulitzer Prize (1979)
Crafoord Prize (1990)
Pulitzer Prize (1991)
Kistler Prize (2000)
Nierenberg Prize (2001)
Scientific career
Fields Biologist
Institutions Harvard University

Edward Osborne Wilson (June 10, 1929 – December 26, 2021) was an American biologist, naturalist and author. He was an entomologist who studied ants, but to the public he is known for sociobiology, biodiversity and conservation.

Wilson's writing has been very influential. He was a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction. He was known for his role as "the father of sociobiology", his environmentalism, and his secular humanist and deist ideas on religion and ethics.

He worked at Harvard University, and was a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He was a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism. He was awarded the National Medal of Science (1977), and the Crafoord Prize (1990), which recognizes research in scientific fields not eligible for the Nobel Prize.


Wilson's work (and books) fell into at least four categories:

  1. Ants. He was the twentieth century's leading expert on these insects.
  2. Sociobiology. He created the term and wrote the book. He applies evolution and genetics to the study of human nature. This part of his work has been highly controversial. The term is not as often used as it was before. The idea of evolutionary psychology is becoming more popular.
  3. Biodiversity and conservation. This part of his work is agreed by many other experts.
  4. Unity of knowledge. He argues that all knowledge – including humanities and social sciences – should be a kind of unified science. This is a philosophical view which has been put forward several times before.p228


Wilson died on December 26, 2021 in Burlington, Massachusetts at the age of 92.

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