Remember the first time you ever saw an ant hill? That parade of black insects pouring in and out of a small sand mound...most of us stopped, looked and then moved on to other parts of the playground. E. O. Wilson is the kid who never took his eyes off the mound.
He grew up to revolutionize the fields of entomology, sociobiology and conservationist thought. E. O. (E is for Edward, O is for Osborne) got a nod from Time Magazine on their list of the 25 Most Influential People in America and picked up a few Pulitzers along the way. But before all that he was just an eight-year-old boy in the South whose nickname was 'Bugs.'
Ed and Robert Krulwich spoke a few years ago at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan about Ed's early insect-philia and how it blossomed. Ed tells Robert about the time he figured out how to make hundreds of ants trace his name and the time he convinced an ant colony one of their ants was dead when it was anything but.
If you like this conversation, stay tuned for Season 5. We are working on a whole show devoted to people falling in (and out of) love with science. Can't wait? Bugs crawling on your skin now? Re-visit Ed and other ant enthusiasts in our Emergence episode.