Obituary: Burlington Resident and World-Renowned Biologist Edward O. Wilson, 92

A Burlington resident, world famous biologist, author of multiple books and a man who dedicated his life to the study of the natural world has passed.

Edward O. Wilson died in Burlington on December 26 at the age of 92. His passing was first announced by the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and the American Museum of Natural History but no cause was provided.

“The community of the American Museum of Natural History mourns the passing of E.O. Wilson, a friend of the Museum, Trustee for more than 30 years, and perhaps the most influential natural scientist of our time,” Foundation Charmain Lewis W. Bernard and President Ellen V. Futter said in a statement. “His leadership and vision inspired the development of our Hall of Biodiversity, the first major permanent museum hall devoted to the diversity of life and threats to it, and he was a founding member of our Center for Biodiversity and Conservation’s Advisory Council.”

Wilson was born on June 10, 1929 in Birmingham, Alabama. He attended the University of Alabama for his undergraduate and Master’s degrees and Harvard University for a PhD.

Wilson was a hands-on researcher and teacher.

“He discovered hundreds of new species by putting his hands in the dirt as a field biologist, synthesized evolving thinking in science and helped popularize terms such as biodiversity and biophilia to explain it,” his obituary in The Washington Post reads. “Of his many accomplishments in evolutionary biology, his biggest contribution was probably in the new scientific field of sociobiology, in which he addressed the biological basis of social behavior in animals, including humans.”

He wrote technical scientific studies and popular science, receiving two Pulitzer Prizes for nonfiction as well as the National Medal of Science.

“For his research, advocacy, and leadership, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from our Richard Gilder Graduate School in 2014,” Bernard and Futter wrote. “He was a powerful example and communicator of the things we value: the excitement and rewards of field biology and a reverence for and curiosity about nature. He will long be an inspiration to us. We send heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.”

Click Here to read his full Washington Post obituary.