“The world needs you, badly.” That’s the first advice legendary biologist Edward O. Wilson offers in his new book, Letters to a Young Scientist (Norton). Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, Wilson has collected wisdom from his life and career in 21 letters, each a valuable lesson for scientists and potential scientists.
Wilson maintains that scientific success doesn’t depend on mathematical genius, but rather on the ability to find an unsolved scientific problem and imagine new ways to solve it. In scientific research, Wilson advises, “March away from the sound of the guns. Observe from a distance, but do not join the fray. Make a fray of your own.”
Wilson is one of the world’s most distinguished scientists. A professor emeritus at Harvard University and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, he has taught and inspired the scientifically curious since he was an insect-collecting Boy Scout in Rock Creek Park. Letters to a Young Scientist is available for signing at the program.
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Hear Edward O. Wilson’s advice to young scientists in a 2012 TED Talk.