Friday, May 31, 2013

The Study of Ants and Other Scientific Lessons

Edward O. Wilson studying an Ant Hill

On a whim, I picked up this small volume from the new books display at the library: Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson.

Talk about stepping out of your reading comfort zone!

When I worked at an independent bookstore years ago, I shelved books by Mr. Wilson as I had the Nature and Science section. From what I gather, he is quite readable and has published something like twenty books. He is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for two: On Human Nature and The Ants. Ants are his specialty.

In this book, which brings to my mind Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, biologist Wilson advocates that the young scientist first find her or his passion and then get training in that passion. Sounds like good advice for any writer, artist, accountant, or architect.

After living in the mannerly world of Angela Thirkell for quite a spell, with this book I hope to feed my mind with something more substantial than tea and cakes.


  1. Wilson can have his ants; the only good ant to me is a dead one! My sons never had an ant farm. They spent a lot of time outside and blew up anthills on the 4th of July! :) Older son is still a Boy Scout leader tho his son is 20 so he is still out in nature a lot. Still - what are ANTS good for. :) On the other hand, it might be interesting to delve into one of his books someday. Joyce in KS

    1. I am of the same opinion as you about those ants, Joyce. I guess maybe Wilson studies his in a laboratory. They are fascinating social insects though...just not in my kitchen!