Letters to a Young Scientist

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W. W. Norton & Company, Apr 15, 2013 - Business & Economics - 244 pages
2 Reviews
At a time when the survival of our species and the rest of the living world is more than ever linked to our understanding of science, Pulitzer-Prize-winning biologist Edward O. Wilson has distilled sixty years of teaching into a book for students, both young and old alike. Throughout his storied career, Wilson has counseled thousands of talented young people, and as a result has gleaned a deep knowledge, indeed a philosophy, of what one needs to know to have a successful career in science. In Letters to a Young Scientist, he lays out not just his practical advice for how the next generation can succeed, but why it is so vitally important that they do. Wilson threads these twenty letters with richly illustrated autobiographical anecdotes that illuminate his career--both his successes and his failures--and his motivations for becoming a biologist. Beginning with his own coming-of-age in Mobile, Alabama, Wilson reflects on his adolescence as an enthusiastic Boy Scout, resolved to spend as much of his free time as possible outdoors, exploring the swamps and forests of the Gulf Coast and cataloging its many spiders, ants, snakes, and butterflies. Determined at first to reach the rank of Eagle Scout and then later to become an entomologist. Wilson describes an early passion tempered by education as being a guiding force in forging the arc of a career. Letters to a Young Scientist includes advice on choosing a field of study, finding a mentor, and the application of scientific theory in the real world. Yet Wilson insists that success in the sciences does not depend on mathematical skill or even a high IQ, but rather a passion for finding a problem and solving it. He calls more broadly for a synthesis of the sciences and humanities in the twenty-first century that can inspire a generation of young people, encourage their innate creativity, and set them to work solving the problems that previous generations have woefully ignored.
 

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En tant qu'étudiant en Sciences de la nature, j'ai trouvé ce livre très inspirant et très motivant. Les écrits E. O. Wilson m'encouragent beaucoup dans la poursuite de mes études et me font réaliser que la possibilité de faire de grandes découvertes existe bel et bien.
Ce livre contient beaucoup d'anecdotes et d'invitations à poursuivre une carrière scientifique, mais aussi plusieurs conseils forts utiles sur comment gérer sa carrière dans le domaine de la recherche.
 

Contents

PROLOGUE
13
A LIFE IN SCIENCE
17
What Is Science?
55
The Creative Process
69
What It Takes
77
A Mentor and the Start ofa Career
119
A Celebration of Audacity
143
THEORY AND THE BIG PICTURE
167
The Making of Theories
189
Biological Theory on a Grand Scale
205
Theory in the Real World
219
The Scientific Ethic 257
238
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About the author (2013)

Edward O. Wilson is widely recognized as one of the world's preeminent biologists and naturalists. The author of more than twenty books, including The Creation, The Social Conquest of Earth, The Meaning of Human Existence, and Letters to a Young Scientist, Wilson is a professor emeritus at Harvard University. The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, he lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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