Edward O. Wilson (b. 1929)

American biologist, ecologist, and author. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Wilson earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees at the University of Alabama and his Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he is a research professor of evolutionary biology. His lifelong study of ants has provided the foundation of a new scientific field he calls sociobiology, “the systematic study of the biological basis of all social behavior”; he has been called “the father of biodiversity” for his contributions to ecology. Wilson’s many books include Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975); The Diversity of Life (1992); Naturalist (1994), his memoir; Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998), in which Wilson coined the phrase “scientific humanism”; The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth (2006); and Anthill (2010), a novel. Wilson has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, for On Human Nature (1979) and The Ants (with Bert Hölldobler, 1991). See also encyclopediaofalabama.org.