Anthony Fauci Biography

Edward Osborne Wilson, also known as E. O. Wilson, was a renowned biologist and leading expert in the field. Despite a childhood fishing accident that left him with a dysfunctional left eye, Wilson dedicated his life to studying miniature creatures such as ants and bugs. This led to his expertise in myrmecology, the study of ants, and his contributions to further discoveries in the field. Wilson is also credited as the founding father of socio-biology and biodiversity. Alongside his research, he has written bestselling books that have received major accolades. His remarkable achievements have been recognized by universities and organizations worldwide.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Edward Osborne Wilson, Edward O.
  • Died At Age: 92
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Irene Wilson
    • Father: Edward Wilson
    • Mother: Inez Wilson
    • Children: Catherine Wilson
  • Born Country: United States
  • Biologists
  • American Men
  • Died on: December 26, 2021
  • Place of death: Burlington, Massachusetts, U.S.
  • More Facts
  • Education:
    • 1955 – Harvard University
    • 1950 – University of Alabama
    • 1949 – University of Alabama
  • Awards:
    • 1991; 1979 – Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction – The Ants; On Human Nature
    • 2013 – Hubbard Medal
    • 2010 – Heartland Prize
    • 1993 – International Prize for Biology
    • 1994 – Eminent Ecologist Award
    • 2001 – Nierenberg Prize
    • 2002 – Natural World Book Prize
    • 1975 – Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences; US & Canada
    • 1977 – National Medal of Science for Biological Sciences
    • 1990 – Crafoord Prize in Biosciences
    • 2003 – Julia Ward Howe Prize
    • 1999 – Clarence Cason Award

Childhood & Early Life

Edward Osborne Wilson, commonly known as E. O. Wilson, was born on June 10, 1929, in Birmingham, Alabama. His parents were Edward Wilson and Inez Wilson. During his early childhood, the Wilson family lived in various areas near Washington DC and Mobile, Alabama. When Wilson was seven years old, his parents divorced, and he began living with his father and stepmother. At this time, Wilson suffered an injury to his eye while fishing, resulting in impaired vision in his left eye.

From a young age, Wilson developed a fascination with insects, particularly ants. He studied their activities with great care and eventually became interested in flies as well. However, he ultimately returned to studying ants. Wilson decided to pursue a career in biology and enrolled at the University of Alabama. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1949 and his master’s degree in biology in 1950, setting the stage for a successful career.

Wilson’s thirst for knowledge led him to pursue a doctorate in biology at Harvard University, which he obtained in 1955. Following his graduation, he became a faculty member at Harvard.


In 1955, Wilson achieved his first breakthrough in the study of ants by completing a taxonomic analysis of a specific breed called Lasius. This work led him to develop the concept of “character displacement” of species, which he collaborated on with W. L. Brown.

The year 1956 proved to be highly productive for Wilson’s career. He made two significant discoveries: the identification of pheromones in ants, which play a role in their communication, and the discovery of the taxon cycle, which documents the changing habitats of different species.

Wilson dedicated many years to studying ants and published his first major book, “The Insect Societies,” in 1971. This book received widespread acclaim and is considered one of the most authoritative works on the subject.

In 1975, Wilson introduced a new branch of biological study called sociobiology. He published the book “Sociobiology: The New Synthesis,” which gained both fame and controversy among academics.

In his 1979 book, “On Human Nature,” Wilson further expanded on his socio-biological theories and applied them to human characteristics. He continued to contribute to various branches of biological science throughout his career.

In 1990, Wilson co-authored the book “The Ants” with Bert Holldobler, which consolidated his research on the biological characteristics of different ant species. This book earned him another Pulitzer Prize.

Wilson retired from his teaching position at Harvard in 1996 but remained a Professor Emeritus. He also held a lectureship at Duke University. In 1998, he published the book “Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge,” which proposed ways to unite different sciences and integrate them with the humanities.

Major Works

One of Wilson’s notable works is the book “Diversity of Life,” published in 1992. It became a bestseller and explored how human activities contribute to the extinction of certain species.

Award & Achievements

Wilson received numerous accolades throughout his career. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for “On Human Nature,” which remains a significant contribution to the field of socio-biology. In 1990, he was awarded the Crandoor Prize for his theory on island biogeography, the highest prize in the biological sciences awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Wilson won his second Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for “The Ants,” co-authored with Bert Holldobler. He was also recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the top 25 most influential individuals in the USA.

Personal Life, Legacy & Death

In 1955, Wilson married Irene, and they had a daughter named Catherine thirteen years later.

E. O. Wilson passed away on December 26, 2021, in Burlington, near his home. He was 92 years old.

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