Pulitzer Prize–winning biologist Edward O. Wilson imparts the wisdom of his storied career to the next generation in his new book, Letters to a Young Scientist, published this month by W.W. Norton.
Edward O. Wilson has distilled sixty years of teaching into a book for students, young and old. Reflecting on his coming-of-age in the South as a Boy Scout and a lover of ants and butterflies, Wilson threads these twenty-one letters, each richly illustrated, with autobiographical anecdotes that illuminate his career—both his successes and his failures—and his motivations for becoming a biologist.
At a time in human history when our survival is more than ever linked to our understanding of science, Wilson insists that success in the sciences does not depend on mathematical skill, but rather a passion for finding a problem and solving it. From the collapse of stars to the exploration of rain forests and the oceans’ depths, Wilson instills a love of the innate creativity of science and a respect for the human being’s modest place in the planet’s ecosystem in his readers. Letters to a Young Scientist, like all of his books, bears Wilson’s distinctive voice and his ability to traverse disciplines and communities (while quoting from Vladimir Nabokov, Jimmy Cagney, and Floyd Patterson along the way) to convey big ideas.
Pingback: My favourite reads in 2014 | NeuroRach
Pingback: E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation » “Letters to a Young Scientist” Reviewed in the “New York Times Book Review”
Pingback: E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation » E.O. Wilson on “Letters to a Young Scientist” on Boston’s NPR Station WBUR
I just got the book three days ago and can’t stop reading it. I’m a Master student, doing a research in termite-fungi interaction. I’m in this crossroad of continuing my doctorate degree or quitting, since I find it really difficult to find funding. Since the prologue, I’m dazed. he seems to posses the mind reading ability, I’m an average student with poor mathematical skill, so sometimes i feel hopeless about pursuing a career in scientific field. Prof. Wilson, if you’re reading this, thank you for helping me to find the path. I’m now convinced, since the world needs me–badly.