E.O. Wilson on the Encyclopedia of Life

Edward O. Wilson: I don’t follow the day to day activities out of the Smithsonian and then we have a lot of activities going on at Harvard at the present time.  But it’s hard to judge how many people are employed full-time or part-time.  But the encyclopedia project, we anticipate, we’ll be able to draw down about $30 million from grants that are mainly from the MacArthur. 

But looking ahead a bit, I would say maybe, [it’s in] around figure I’d say about 100 people are full-time or a large part of part-time and I would expect that to expand as funding becomes available and we’ll really get on to the logarithmic stage, you know, of doing the mapping of the world.  But I would expect that probably, eventually, a couple of thousands.  It will be a big science project, but I don’t think it will compare in any way in dollars spent to most of our major space program.  It probably would be comparable to what was spent for the human genome project.

Recorded on: December 4, 2008

Prof. E.O. Wilson talks about the scope of the massive project to document every living organism.

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