science | June 25, 2013

Good Scientists Don't Have To Be Mathematicians: Edward O. Wilson on NPR

You don't have to be a genius to be a good scientist. You don't have to be all that good at math, either. At least, Edward O. Wilson doesn't think so. And as a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and author of dozens of hailed science books, the biologist knows a thing or two about making it in the field. The renowned science speaker and bestselling author just released a new book, Letters To A Young Scientist, in which he shares decades of experience with the hopeful scientists of the future.

The New York Times had this to say:

"Edward O. Wilson, the evolutionary biologist who has studied social behavior among insects and humans, offers advice to aspiring researchers . . . A naturalist at heart, he plays down technology, math, even intelligence, proposing that a good scientist should be ‘bright enough to see what can be done but not too bright as to become bored doing it.’ . . . [and he] delivers deep insights into how observation and experiment drive theory."—Jascha Hoffman

The host of NPR's Science Friday also gave a Wilson's new book a rave review. He says: "This [book] you will read cover to cover. It's inspirational, it's a terrific read, and I'll tell you all to go out and buy a copy." Wilson was recently a guest on the science program, sharing insight on his work and the things he's learned in his career. One piece of advice resounded above the others. Wilson asserted that the key to success in the sciences requires "a passion, commitment to a subject, excitement over adventure, [and] an entrepreneurial spirit." He added: "All these are more important than a very high IQ." A clear and accessible writer, as well as a sought-after speaker, Wilson shares a wealth of knowledge about the diversity of the planet with his audiences.

Below are two more reviews. You can also read an exceprt on NPR's Science Friday blog.

"The eminent entomologist, naturalist and sociobiologist draws on the experiences of a long career to offer encouraging advice to those considering a life in science . . . Glows with one man’s love for science."
            —Kirkus Reviews

"Inspiring . . . Ought to be on the shelves of all high school and public libraries."
             —Library Journal