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The Lecture (Edward O. Wilson)

The Lecture (Edward O. Wilson)
Usage Conditions Apply
Artist
Nelson Shanks, 23 Dec 1937 - 28 Aug 2015
Sitter
Edward Osborne Wilson, 10 Jun 1929 - 26 Dec 2021
Date
2008-2009
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Frame: 151 × 140.8 × 3.8 cm (59 7/16 × 55 7/16 × 1 1/2")
Stretcher: 127.5 × 118 × 2.9 cm (50 3/16 × 46 7/16 × 1 1/8")
Topic
Symbols & Motifs\Medal
Interior
Printed Material\Book
Printed Material\Papers
Artwork\Photograph
Home Furnishings\Lighting Devices\Lamp
Equipment\Laboratory Equipment\Microscope
Equipment\Optical Devices\Magnifying glass
Edward Osborne Wilson: Male
Edward Osborne Wilson: Literature\Writer
Edward Osborne Wilson: Education\Educator\Professor
Edward Osborne Wilson: Science and Technology\Scientist\Biologist\Zoologist
Edward Osborne Wilson: Humanities and Social Sciences\Sociologist
Edward Osborne Wilson: Science and Technology\Scientist\Biologist
Edward Osborne Wilson: Science and Technology\Scientist\Biologist\Zoologist\Entomologist
Edward Osborne Wilson: Pulitzer Prize
Portrait
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Annette P. Cumming
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Copyright
© Estate of Nelson Shanks
Object number
NPG.2020.134
Exhibition Label
Born Birmingham, Alabama
Edward O. Wilson (1929–2021) was a preeminent biologist and environmentalist whose prolific writing reached general audiences and helped establish the scientific disciplines of biogeography and sociobiology. Known as the world’s foremost expert on ants, his research also explored broader questions about human nature and the future of life on Earth.
Wilson’s groundbreaking study Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975) claimed a genetic basis for the evolution of social behaviors of all kinds of organisms, including—most controversially—humans. Spurred by critics who accused Wilson of engaging in biological determinism, he published On Human Nature (1978), for which he received his first of two Pulitzer Prizes. Wilson is also known for his foundational work in the field of island biogeography during the 1960s and for popularizing the term “biodiversity” in the 1980s. More recently, in Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life (2016), he urged keeping half of the planet wild to stave off mass extinctions. “[W]hen people become familiar with what’s in their natural environment, what’s interesting, what’s important on a broader scale, what gives them pleasures,” he said in a 2021 interview, “that depth of understanding leads to a long-term improvement in their quality of life.”
Nacido en Birmingham, Alabama
Edward O. Wilson fue un eminente biólogo y ambientalista cuyos prolíficos escritos alcanzaron al público amplio y ayudaron a establecer las disciplinas de la biogeografía y la sociobiología. Conocido como el mayor experto en hormigas del mundo, también exploró aspectos de la naturaleza humana y el futuro de la vida en la Tierra.
En su revolucionario estudio Sociobiología: La nueva síntesis (1975), examinó las bases genéticas de la evolución del comportamiento social en todo tipo de organismos, incluidos los humanos –objeto de gran controversia–. En respuesta a los críticos que lo acusaron de determinismo biológico, publicó Sobre la naturaleza humana (1978), que le ganó el primero de dos premios Pulitzer. Wilson se destacó también por su labor fundamental en el campo de la biogeografía insular en la década de 1960 y por popularizar el término “biodiversidad” en la década de 1980. En Medio planeta: La lucha por las tierras salvajes en la era de la sexta extinción (2016), exhortó a conservar la mitad del planeta en estado salvaje para evitar las extinciones masivas. “Cuando la gente se familiariza con lo que hay en su ambiente natural, lo que es interesante, importante a escala más amplia, lo que les da placer”, dijo en una entrevista de 2021, “esa comprensión profunda conduce a una mejor calidad de vida a largo plazo”.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery