At age 78, E.O. Wilson is still going through his “little savage” phase of boyhood exploration of the natural world. In “E.O. Wilson- Of Ants and Men” PBS profiles this soft-spoken Southerner and Harvard professor, who is an acclaimed advocate for ants, biological diversity, and the controversial extension of Darwinian ideas to human society.
E.O. Wilson – Of Ants and Men is a two-hour film about the life and extraordinary scientific odyssey of one of America’s greatest living thinkers, E.O Wilson. It is an exciting journey of ideas, but also an endearing portrait of a remarkable man; often dubbed “a Darwin for the modern day.” Starting with his unusual childhood in Alabama, it chronicles the lifelong love for the natural world that led him to Harvard and the studies that would establish him as the world’s foremost authority on ants.
But that was just the beginning. His discovery of ant pheromones in the 1960’s led him to start thinking about systems of communication in nature on a much grander scale. He was one of the first to start thinking about ecosystems, still a revolutionary concept at the time, and the ways different species fitted together inside them. His book, “Island Biogeography” and the word “biodiversity,” which he coined in the 1980’s, have since become the cornerstones of conservation biology, something he is very proud of.
This would have been enough for most scientific careers, but there was so much more to come.