E. O. Wilson, the Scientist: Background information when reading Anthill

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Anthill

A Novel

by Edward O. Wilson

Anthill by Edward O. Wilson
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2010, 378 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2011, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elizabeth Whitmore Funk

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Beyond the Book:
E. O. Wilson, the Scientist

Print Review

E O WilsonOne of the aspects that makes Anthill unique is author E. O. Wilson's long career in biology and entomology. Anthill merits recognition for its literary merits alone, but the author's unique qualifications for the novel's subject matter deserve attention as well.

E. O. Wilson's long career as a natural scientist began in the late 1950s at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. While most of Wilson's work has concentrated on the classification and ecology of ants in New Guinea, other Pacific islands, and the American tropics (where Anthill takes place), he has also played prominent roles within the fields of chemical ecology, island biogeography, conversation biology, biodiversity, and sociobiology, a discipline that he introduced in the 1970s through his book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. Many scholars consider Wilson's theory of sociobiology to be one of the most important developments in evolution scholarship since Charles Darwin, and the foundation of evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology.

Wilson has authored over twenty books and received such prestigious awards as the Pulitzer Prize for Non-fiction (for On Human Nature and The Ants, co-written with Bert Hölldobler), the National Medal of Science, the Gold Medal of the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science (given by the Academy in fields of science that are not covered by the Nobel Prize), and teaching awards from the students at Harvard University. Foreign Policy named him one of the world's 100 leading intellectuals in 2005.

E.O. Wilson's Biodiversity Foundation

This article was originally published in May 2010, and has been updated for the April 2011 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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