Frank J. Sulloway on Edward O. Wilson (1929–2021)

Frank J. Sulloway in Skeptic:

When I first learned of Ed’s death I felt a deep sense of personal loss given his extensive influence on my own life and academic career. As a Junior at Harvard I took Ed’s course in evolutionary biology. It was electrifying. In at least one of his lectures he talked about his repeated dreams of visiting oceanic islands and what exciting places for biological research they could be. His descriptions of his dreams, and the lectures he gave about such islands and their various exotic species, were beyond infectious. A crucial element in their magic was Ed’s captivating eloquence, a use of language that bordered on poetry.

One day after class I approached Ed about my idea of writing a Senior Honors Thesis on Charles Darwin’s voyage of the Beagle. His immediate advice was “go to the Galápagos Islands.” He was so enthusiastic about such an expedition that he became my first donor, offering to contribute the equivalent of $3,000 in today’s currency to support the eight-person Harvard-Darwin Film Expedition that I then proceeded to organize.

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