Prof. Wilson’s work on evolution, ants, sociobiology, biodiversity… is legendary. I had recently paid him homage on Instagram (Sept 25th, 2021).
All his books are worth reading, studying and learning from. He is regarded as the greatest biologist since Charles Darwin.
In the short space below, I’d like to write about an eye-opening experience I had with him, which is perhaps even more relevant to today’s culture than his actual, pioneering scientific work I can write about here.
Year is 1978: Prof. Wilson is giving a lecture at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) on “SOCIOBIOLOGY”, his relatively new, controversial book.
I’m in the audience, making the short trip from MIT where I’m a postdoctoral research associate with Prof. Salvador Luria, a Nobel Laureate in the Biology Department.
I’m very excited; maybe I’ll get to meet Prof. Wilson too, after his lecture open to the public. The lecture hall is jam-packed with students, faculty…. and everybody is in a good mood.
Within a minute of Prof. Wilson starting his lecture, 2 young men calmly approached the podium. And, poured a bucket of cold water over the unsuspecting speaker’s head! Then, they calmly walked out!
Disbelief, shock among the audience, but no further action.
Prof. Wilson took a 5 min break to dry up, came back and calmly continued with his lecture on SOCIOBIOLOGY, with great humor.
The ugly incidence was presumably a protest of Wilson’s “Social-Darwinist” ideas, carried out by a group of left-leaning, anti-capitalist Harvard students.
It was also my first experience in the USA of the HYPOCRISY of the left in an academic setting:
Free speech, scholarship dammed, if they came presumably from the right.
BTW: Prof. Wilson was never a right-wing capitalist, just an honest bioscientist who thought his ideas had relevance to the human societies, as well. And, I assure you, they do.
I will save the rest of this story: my actual meeting Prof. Wilson and developing a friendship over the years, to another occasion.
I admired and cherished him since. I will miss him now.
The whole world will miss him.
Prof. Wilson, Rest In Peace.
You earned it