Two-time Pulitzer Winner, Biodiversity Scholar to Speak

E.O. Wilson, renowned scholar and famed biologist, will speak to a capacity crowd about “Biodiversity and the Environment” on Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 8 p.m. at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center.

Reservations became available to the free lecture in late December to members of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center and of the GAA, the event’s co-sponsors; all remaining seats were reserved shortly after they were made available to the public on Jan. 5.

Wilson, who has won two Pulitzer Prizes and more than 90 awards for his contributions to science, is known as the father of biodiversity and sociobiology.

“E.O. Wilson is the leading thinker and writer about organisms of our generation,” said Holden Thorp ’86, director of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. “He’s started revolutions in understanding how our genes influence our behavior and how biodiversity controls the planet.”

Wilson has shaped modern scientific thought about genetics, evolution, human and animal behavior, and natural resource preservation. He argues in The Future of Life, the most recent of his more than 20 books, that the survival of human life depends on the preservation of the world’s vast diversity of plant and animal life.

According to Wilson, 90 percent of Earth’s organisms are unknown, but he predicts that as many as half of all species will disappear by the end of the century if trends aren’t reversed. In books such as Biodiversity and The Diversity of Life, he argues that species are being destroyed at the fastest rate in history.

“We are just beginning to explore the development of school and public programs in biodiversity,” said Bob Gotwals, associate director of the Morehead Center. “It is important that all inhabitants of Earth understand some of the basic concepts underlying the topic of biodiversity and the impact and implications of those concepts on how we exist as a modern society.”

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