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Scientist: E. O. Wilson


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About the Author

RICHARD RHODES is the author of twenty-six books including The Making of the Atomic Bomb, which won the Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He graduated from Yale University and has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, and a host and correspondent for documentaries on American public television. He lives outside San Francisco with his wife, Dr. Ginger Rhodes, a clinical psychologist.


“It has been an honor to know Ed Wilson. His life and work have inspired so many—scientist and layperson, alike. Richard Rhodes’s Scientist is a wonderful introduction to one of the great thinkers and observers of our age.”
—Paul Simon

“An impressive account of one of the 20th century’s most prominent biologists, for whom the natural world is ‘a sanctuary and a realm of boundless adventure; the fewer the people in it, the better.’”
—The New York Times Book Review, "5 New Biographies To Read This Season"

“Wilson’s life and substantial accomplishments—many have called him the “natural heir” to Darwin—are ripe topics for exploration, and particularly important as we continue to confront the climate crisis’ effects on biodiversity."
—Lit Hub, "Most Anticipated Books of 2021"

“Pulitzer–winner Rhodes (The Making of the Atomic Bomb) does justice to ‘one of the...greatest biologists of the twentieth century’ in this brilliant biography…Rhodes depicts Wilson as a tireless field scientist at a time when the general belief was that the future of biological discoveries was in the laboratory, and as a proponent who popularized sociobiology, and as a Pulitzer-winner for his books The Ants and On Human Nature. The author leaves no doubt as to Wilson’s broad impact on science and the public’s perceptions of nature, without ever veering into hagiography. This is a must-read.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Esteemed biographer and historian Rhodes warmly portrays Wilson as an ambitious and accomplished biologist, a passionate and influential advocate for identifying all life forms and preserving half of Earth as natural habitat, and a prolific, Pulitzer Prize–winning writer…Rhodes also illuminates Wilson's insights into biodiversity, biophilia, altruism, and the nature of science…His many admirable attributes include a genuine inquisitiveness, sense of wonder, and deep concern for all life, from insects to people, and our planet. Rhodes' biography makes a fine companion to Wilson's Tales from the Ant World (2020).”
—Booklist, starred review

“Rhodes (who won a Pulitzer for The Making of the Atomic Bomb) devotes as much time to Wilson’s remarkable life as to his remarkable achievements as a biologist, making this biography a joy to read.”
—The Washington Post, "10 Books To Read in November"

“Richard Rhodes. . .himself a Pulitzer Prize winner, has produced a well-crafted book on the unlikely trajectory of ‘a polite, soft-spoken product of Gulf Coast Alabama, the first in his family to graduate from college’. . .Rhodes says of Wilson that he ‘never stopped growing in knowledge or expanding in range.’ What a life.” –Yale Alumni Magazine

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