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National Medal of Science Winner
Wilson To Give NIH Director's Lecture, Sept. 11

By Joanna Mayo

"The Future of Life," is the topic of the NIH Director's Lecture that will be given by the internationally acclaimed entomologist and biological theorist Dr. Edward O. Wilson on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10.

Wilson is the Pellegrino university research professor emeritus at Harvard University, honorary curator in entomology at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. His most recent book, The Future of Life (2002), describes a biologically complex world that has been negatively affected by human activity. Two decades of research on biological diversity has led to his prediction that one-half of the Earth's species is in danger of disappearing by the end of this century. In his book, Wilson unveils a plan to conserve Earth's natural biological diversity, and makes a passionate plea for quick and decisive action.

Biological theorist Dr. Edward O. Wilson

With the new book as the basis of his lecture, Wilson will discuss his extensive research, and his plan for the rescue of Earth's biological heritage. In the process, he will explore ethical and religious bases of the conservation movement and challenge the idea that environmentally sound policy cannot coexist with economic growth.

Wilson earned B.S. and M.A. degrees in biology from the University of Alabama, and a Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1956 as a researcher and professor of zoology, specializing in entomology. Among his accomplishments is the development (with Robert H. MacArthur) of the theory of biogeography, a basic part of modern ecology and conservation biology, and the creation of the discipline of sociobiology, in 1975. Wilson also edited the 1988 volume Biodiversity, which introduced the term and drew worldwide attention to the subject. This volume and Wilson's book, The Diversity of Life, published in 1992, assembled knowledge about the magnitude of biodiversity and the growing threats to it. His subsequent book, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998), brought together the sciences, humanities and the arts into a broad study of human knowledge.

Wilson has written more than 370 articles, and published 21 books, two of which have been awarded Pulitzer Prizes — On Human Nature (1978) and The Ants (1990, co-authored with Bert Hölldobler).

He has received over 75 awards internationally for his contributions to science and humanity, including the National Medal of Science. For his conservation work, he has been awarded the Audubon Medal of the National Audubon Society and the Gold Medal of the World Wide Fund for Nature. Wilson is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of England, and a recipient of 27 honorary degrees from North America and Europe.

The lecture is part of the NIH Director's Wednesday Afternoon Lecture series. For more information or for reasonable accommodation, call Hilda Madine, 594-5595.

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