Biologist E.O. Wilson explores the world of ants and other tiny creatures, and writes movingly about the way all creatures great and small are interdependent.

Why you should listen

One of the world's most distinguished scientists, E.O. Wilson is a professor and honorary curator in entomology at Harvard. In 1975, he published Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, a work that described social behavior, from ants to humans.

Drawing from his deep knowledge of the Earth's "little creatures" and his sense that their contribution to the planet's ecology is underappreciated, he produced what may be his most important book, The Diversity of Life. In it he describes how an intricately interconnected natural system is threatened by man's encroachment, in a crisis he calls the "sixth extinction" (the fifth one wiped out the dinosaurs).

With his most recent book, The Creation, he wants to put the differences of science- and faith-based explanations aside "to protect Earth's vanishing natural habitats and species ...; in other words, the Creation, however we believe it came into existence." A recent documentary called Behold the Earth illustrates this human relationship to nature, or rather separation from an originally intended human bond with nature, through music, imagery, and thoughtful words from both Christians and scientists, including Wilson. 

What others say

“He more than anyone understands the relationship between genes and culture -- and it started with his ants.” — The Guardian

E.O. Wilson’s TED talks

E.O. Wilson on the TED Blog
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Science

New playlist: The world of tiny things

June 9, 2013

There’s a time and a place for the big picture; there’s a time and a place for the tiny one. This week, watch the playlist “The world of tiny things,” all about viewing the unseen and looking at the world on a very small scale. In this playlist, E.O. Wilson makes a plea for insects […]

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Science

Encyclopedia of Life: A primer in primary colors

December 17, 2012

When biologist E.O. Wilson won the TED Prize in 2007, he wished that we all “work together to help create the key tool that we need to inspire preservation of Earth’s biodiversity.” With that, the Encyclopedia of Life began the outrageous task of cataloguing all of the Earth’s known species. Cynthia Parr spoke at TED2012 to give updates on […]

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Quotes from E.O. Wilson

Consider the nematode roundworm, the most abundant of all animals. Four out of five animals on Earth are nematode worms — if all solid materials except nematode worms were to be eliminated, you could still see the ghostly outline of most of it in nematode worms.
E.O. Wilson
TED2007 • 910K views Apr 2007
Inspiring, Informative
Each of these [bacterial] species are masterpieces of evolution. Each has persisted for thousands to millions of years. Each is exquisitely adapted to the environment in which it lives, interlocked with other species to form ecosystems upon which our own lives depend in ways we have not begun even to imagine.
E.O. Wilson
TED2007 • 910K views Apr 2007
Inspiring, Informative