E.O. Wilson on Harnessing Technology to Teach Science
Edward Osborne Wilson is an American biologist (Myrmecology, a branch of entomology), researcher (sociobiology, biodiversity), theorist (consilience, biophilia), and naturalist (conservationism). Wilson is known for his career as a scientist, his advocacy for environmentalism, and his secular humanist ideas concerned with religious and ethical matters.
A Harvard professor for four decades, he has written twenty books, won two Pulitzer prizes, and discovered hundreds of new species. Considered to be one of the world's greatest living scientists, Dr. Wilson is often called "the father of biodiversity," (a word that he coined). He is the Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism.
I have built out of a lifetime of studying biological diversity, I focused on ants of which there are 14,000 species today known and far more that’s out there to be found.
And I did a lot of other biological work. But my focus was on always on biological diversity. And it was my desire to see that field modernized, you know, modern taxonomy and a biogeography in this old discipline modernized that maybe grabbed hold of what I saw as great potential of the net, although, I have to admit, I’m pretty much of an ignoramus in the field.
Nonetheless, I saw what it could do and I saw an endless sea of nerds and experts, the extraordinarily successful technological and scientific people emerging, and I said, why can’t they take us up with them and that basically what has happened in the last 10 years.
Recorded on: December 4, 2008
Prof. E.O. Wilson talks about ways to disseminate high-quality knowledge online.