UA Mourns Death of E.O. Wilson, “The Father of Sociobiology”
The University of Alabama community is mourning the death of notable alumnus Edward Osborne Wilson, who passed away December 26 at the age of 92.
Wilson was a biologist, researcher, naturalist, author and a Harvard professor for 46 years. He was considered a pioneer and visionary for his scientific study of sociobiology, biodiversity and ecosystems. He was considered the "father of sociobiology" and the "father of biodiversity" throughout his scientific career.
He earned both a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Alabama, and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction twice, once in 1879 for "On Human Nature," and again in 1991 for "The Ants." He was also a New York Times bestseller for "The Social Conquest of Earth, Letters to a Young Scientist and The Meaning of Human Existence."
“Through a relentless pursuit of new knowledge, our friend E.O. Wilson taught us to view the natural world in fresh and inspiring ways,” said UA President Stuart Bell. “His legendary work will continue to encourage future generations of students who are passionate about science and innovation.”
Wilson's specialty was the study of ants, otherwise known as myrmecology, for which he was considered the world's leading expert. He was also known for his environmental advocacy and his secular-humanist and deist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters.
One of his most substantial contributions to ecological theory is his theory of island biogeography. Developed in collaboration with mathematical ecologist Robert MacArthur, this theory is seen as the foundation of the development of conservation area design, along with the unified neutral theory of biodiversity from Stephen Hubbell.
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