Edward O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Professor Emeritus of biology at Harvard, is celebrated worldwide for his contributions to evolutionary biology, spurred by a lifelong passion for ants. He is also the distinguished recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes for nonfiction writing. But on Nov. 29, Wilson assumed the role of amateur historian to commemorate another famed scientist and writer. The Geological Lecture Hall was filled to capacity when Wilson delivered a lecture on “Darwin in the Twenty-First Century.”
Wilson’s lecture was framed as a biographical timeline of Darwin’s life peppered with colorful anecdotes. He began by taking a jab at his own career, relating the story of a servant in the Darwin household who found her employer watching ants near the home of his neighbor, famed writer William Thackeray. “What a pity it is that Mr. Darwin doesn’t have a way to pass his time like Mr. Thackeray,” she remarked.