Alabama Academy of Honor


Edward Osborne Wilson

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 1995, updated in October 2002.



Dr. Edward Osborne Wilson is a scientist of national and international reputation. He is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, though many of his younger years were spent on the shores of Mobile Bay. Following his graduation from Decatur, Alabama high school, he entered The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, from which institution he earned a B. S. Degree and an M.A. Degree in biology.

He continued his educational pursuits on leaving the University of Alabama, earning a Ph.D. Degree at Harvard University. Dr. Wilson is a professor emeritus and curator of comparative zoology at Harvard.

Ed Wilson is the son of Edward Osborne Wilson, Sr. and Inez Freeman Wilson. He and his wife Renee are the proud parents of a daughter, Catherine.

Dr. Wilson is only one of two persons to have received both our country's highest award in science, the National Medal of Science, and its premier literary award, the Pulitzer Prize in literature, the latter won twice. The Royal Swedish Academy of Science, which awards the Nobel Prize, awarded Dr. Wilson the Crafoord Prize, an award designed to cover those areas (general biology, oceanography, mathematics, astronomy) not covered by the Nobel Prizes. This award was for Dr. Wilson's work in ecology. He also received over 90 other prizes, medals, and awards from around the world, as well as 27 honorary degrees.

Dr. Edward Osborne Wilson's ventures in the literary field have set him apart as a man of letters, as well as a scientist of unmatched accomplishments. In 1995 Time named him one of the 25 most influential people in America, and in 1996 an international poll ranked him one of the 100 most influential scientists of all time.

Dr. Wilson's books, On Human Nature in 1979, The Ants in 1990, and his most recent works, The Diversity of Life, Naturalist, and The Future of Life are compelling evidence that his unceasing efforts of research on animals and their habits have stimulated the thoughts and labors of people around the world.