DURHAM — Renowned scientist E.O. Wilson is moving his biodiversity foundation to Duke University, where he will also teach a graduate-level course.
Wilson, a research scientist and professor emeritus at Harvard University, will house his E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation at Dukes Nicholas School of the Environment under an agreement signed this week. The school will soon open Duke Environment Hall, a new building with green design and energy-saving features.
Landing a partnership with Wilson is a coup for Duke. Wilson will teach a graduate course on biodiversity and the meaning of human existence in the spring. Duke plans to broadcast the lectures on iTunes U.
In the universitys announcement Wednesday, Dukes Nicholas School Dean William Chameides called the new partnership with Wilson an incredible opportunity for Duke students and faculty.
The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation was founded in 2006, inspired by Wilsons work to foster biodiversity research. The foundation aims to increase public understanding of biodiversity to promote protection of the planets diverse species.
Wilson is considered the worlds leading authority on the study of ants and ant behavior. His decades of research into ant communication and insect societies blossomed into the field of sociobiology, the study of the biological basis for animal and human behavior.
He is also a theorist, naturalist and author of best-selling books such as Letters to a Young Scientist, On Human Nature and The Social Conquest of Earth. He twice won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction.
He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and winner of the U.S. National Medal of Science and the Carl Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science.