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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 4, 2009

Environmental writer Edward Wilson to give Distinguished Lecture Feb. 11

Biologist and author Edward O. Wilson, considered the father of the modern environmental movement, will give the University of Iowa's 2008-09 Distinguished Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11 in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

The talk, presented by the University Lecture Committee, is free and open to the public. In his speech, Wilson will discuss his scientific career and how it influenced his writing. This lecture was rescheduled from Oct. 8, 2008.

Wilson, professor of biology at Harvard University, is a pioneer in the fields of biodiversity and sociobiology. Two of his 21 books have been awarded Pulitzer Prizes. He has been hailed as "the new Darwin" by Thomas Wolfe and one of "America's 25 Most Influential People" by TIME Magazine.

"The key problem facing humanity in the coming century is how to bring a better quality of life -- for 8 billion or more people -- without wrecking the environment entirely in the attempt," Wilson has said.

Wilson's works include "Ants" and "On Human Nature," which both won the Pulitzer Prize. "The Future of Life" offers a plan for saving Earth's biological heritage, while "Consilience" draws together the sciences, humanities, and the arts into a broad study of human knowledge. He also wrote "The Creation," a plea for science and religion to work together to save the planet, and wrote new introductions "From So Simple a Beginning," a collection of the four seminal works of Charles Darwin.

Wilson's newest project is "The Encyclopedia of Life," a Web site that catalogs all key information about life of Earth -- including data about every living species -- and makes it accessible to everyone. Launched with money from his 2007 Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Prize, the Web site recently received an additional $10 million from The MacArthur Foundation. Wilson is also the recipient of the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Crafoord Prize (a sister to the Nobel), and the Audubon Medal. He is the Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard, and continues to research at the Museum of Comparative Zoology.

On Thursday, Feb. 12, Wilson will speak on "Why Biodiversity Matters" from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Old Capitol Senate Chambers as part of the Iowa City Darwin Day Celebration; a reception is planned immediately preceding and following the speech. See for more information on the celebration.


STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: University Lecture Committee, 319-335-3407,; George McCrory, University News Services, 319-384-0012,