How Humans and Insects Conquered the Earth

Many of us spend more time at our desks than anywhere else. In the latest installment of Science Friday’s Desktop Diaries series, ecologist Edward O. Wilson takes us on a tour of his office, located in Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. Wilson, who has studied ants for 60 years and has won two Pulitzer prizes for his writing, shows off Harvard’s ant collection (the largest in the world with about a million specimens), plays a backwoods fiddle and explains how he looks to Darwin (a bobble head doll, in this case) for encouragement.

P.S. Something extra: Dr. Wilson gives advice to young scientists.

In The Social Conquest of Earth, biologist and naturalist Edward O. Wilson writes of how humans and insects conquered the Earth by forming complex societies based on group cooperation, and he discusses the evolutionary struggle between our altruistic and selfish natures.

Segment Guests

Edward O. Wilson

Edward O. Wilson is a professor emeritus of biology at Harvard University in Cambridge. He’s the author of multiple books, including A Window on Eternity: A Biologist’s Walk Through Gorongosa National Park (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

Flora Lichtman

Flora Lichtman was the host of the podcast Every Little Thing. She’s a former Science Friday multimedia producer.