After hearing about the excursions planned for the week to Torrey Pines State National Reserve, San Dieguito Lagoon, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Scripps Institution of Oceanography we were also informed that we would augment these experiences with an iTunes U course and a series of biology texts called Life On Earth by E. O. Wilson.
Then, much to the delight of everyone there, biologist and researcher Edward Osborne Wilson, also know as E.O. Wilson, took to the stage and sat in a leather seat unfolding his prepared notes. An incredibly dignified and generous man, Wilson spoke to us for an hour about biology, the importance of science to the human condition, and achieving excellence. He even spoke boldly and unapologetically about religion.
“For every organism, there are advancements to be made that couldn’t be made from any other discipline.” ~ E. O. Wilson
To him, biology will help humanity and lead to better self understanding. He invites all of us to take up membership in the scientific community as a natural and normal extension of our humanity. It is not only our duty to take an interest in the natural world, but an unavoidable need we should not suppress.
Near the end of his talk he veered off the path of biology towards achieving excellence and nurturing excellence in young scientists. He says that the successful scientists he knows did not have the highest IQ. Wilson spoke of his friend Watson (as in James Watson, as in Watson and Crick as in DNA) who did not have the highest IQ, but more importantly a restlessness and an entrepreneurial obsession. The great scientists had a desire to do something big. They asked themselves “What hasn’t been done?” and “What is extraordinary?” As teachers, he asked of us to look for children who have this restlessness and desire for science and to encourage them on the path to owning their part in the scientific community.
E.O. Wilson has authored and led a team to create the highly interactive iBook series, Life on Earth. These books are incredible. Amazingly, they are also free.