Letters to a Young Scientist: Book summary and reviews of Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson

Letters to a Young Scientist

By Edward O. Wilson

Letters to a Young Scientist
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2013,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, Edward O. Wilson has distilled sixty years of teaching into a book for students, young and old. Reflecting on his coming-of-age in the South as a Boy Scout and a lover of ants and butterflies, Wilson threads these twenty-one letters, each richly illustrated, with autobiographical anecdotes that illuminate his career - both his successes and his failures - and his motivations for becoming a biologist. At a time in human history when our survival is more than ever linked to our understanding of science, Wilson insists that success in the sciences does not depend on mathematical skill, but rather a passion for finding a problem and solving it.

From the collapse of stars to the exploration of rain forests and the oceans' depths, Wilson instills a love of the innate creativity of science and a respect for the human being's modest place in the planet's ecosystem in his readers.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The eminent entomologist, naturalist and sociobiologist draws on the experiences of a long career to offer encouraging advice to those considering a life in science… Glows with one man's love for science." - Kirkus

"Critically aware of his - and his successors' - moments in time, and what kinds of problems the next generation of scientists will be dealing with (e.g., environmental issues), Wilson ultimately offers an encouraging call to arms: "Time is growing short... you are needed." - Publishers Weekly

"Modeled loosely on Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, this majestically personal book reflects both the deep humanity and graceful erudition of its famed author." - Barnes and Noble

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Edward O. Wilson is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Social Conquest of Earth and Anthill: A Novel, as well as the Pulitzer Prize–winning On Human Nature and (with Bert Hölldobler) The Ants. For his contributions in science and conservation, he has received more than one hundred awards from around the world. A professor emeritus at Harvard University, he lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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