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Edward O. Wilson: Anthill

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Date and time
Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pre-eminent biologist and naturalist Edward O. Wilson reads from his first novel, *Anthill*, a book equally inspired by his scientific passion and his boyhood in Alabama. Colin Murphy moderates this discussion. *Anthill *follows the adventures of a modern-day Huck Finn, whose improbable love of the "strange, beautiful, and elegant" world of ants ends up transforming his own life and the citizens of Nokobee County. Battling both snakes bites and cynical relatives who don't understand his consuming fascination with the outdoors, Raff explores the pristine beauty of the Nokobee wildland. And in doing so, he witnesses the remarkable creation and destruction of four separate ant colonies, whose histories are epics that unfold on picnic grounds, becoming a young naturalist in the process. An extraordinary undergraduate at Florida State University, Raff, despite his scientific promise, opts for Harvard Law School, believing that the environmental fight must be waged in the courtroom as well as the lab. Returning home a legal gladiator, Raff grows increasingly alarmed by rapacious condo developers who are eager to pave and subdivide the wildlands surrounding the Chicobee River. But one last battle awaits him in his struggle. In an ending that no reader will forget, Raff suddenly encounters the angry and corrupt ghosts of an old South he thought had all but disappeared, and learns that "war is a genetic imperative," not only for ants but for men as well.

Ed Wilson is a Professor and Curator of Entomology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. Wilson is one of today's finest scholars and naturalists, and he is one of the world's leading authorities on ants. He visited Team Scarab at Nebraska in 1998 and was made an honorary scarab worker. With fellow entomologist Bert Holldobler, Ed has written the definitive volume on ants, which won the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. He also won an earlier Pulitzer in 1979 for his book entitled *On Human Nature*. Ed is the recipient of the National Medal of Science, the International Prize for Biology, the gold medal of the World Wildlife Fund, the Distinguished Humanist Award from the American Humanist Association, and the Crafoord Prize from the Swedish Academy of Sciences (which is ecology's approximation of the Nobel prize).