Wilson Wins First Nierenberg Award

The first Scripps Nierenberg Prize has been awarded to celebrated biologist E.O. Wilson. The award of $25,000 and a medal was created and funded by the Nierenberg family to honor the life and work of the former Scripps Institution of Oceanography director.

Wilson will accept the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest on Monday, May 20 in a ceremony that will begin at 4:30 p.m. in front of the Birch Aquarium. Wilson, who is a research professor and honorary curator in entomology at Harvard University, will also give a free public lecture.

Scripps Institution Develop-ment Officer Kirk Gardner, who coordinated the prize, said the selection committee’s decision to give the award to Wilson was not difficult.

“”Out of 15 or 20 nominees, there was an instant focus on Wilson simply because of the magnitude of his work,”” Gardner said.

The prize honors Nierenberg by awarding scientists whose work is directly connected to the mission of the institution, which, according to Scripps Institution Director Charles Kennel, “”is the search for a sustainable balance between the natural environment and human activity.””

Wilson’s research, which includes evolutionary biology, the biology of social insects, the classification of ants, sociobiology, biogeography and ethical philosophy, personifies that mission.

Gardner remarked, “”[Wilson] was really the first person to say, ‘Look, we need to stop worrying about what biology is doing to humans, and instead start worrying about what humans are doing to biology.'””

Wilson’s books and lectures stimulate interest in science by demonstrating its importance in the everyday lives of humans. His concerns for the preservation of nature have put him at the helm of environmental activism.

His lecture, “”The Future of Life,”” will include the current status and future of biodiversity, as well as the recent and prospective activities of the global conservation movement.

Wilson has received many awards and honors in addition to this one, including the National Medal of Science. His written works include “”The Insect Societies,”” “”Sociobiology: The New Synthesis,”” the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “”On Human Nature,”” “”Biophilia”” and “”Consilience.””

Nierenberg, who died last September, served as director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography from 1965 to 1986. Nierenberg was recognized with numerous awards and honors for his professional research and public service. He served on several panels of the Presidents’ Science Advisory Committee.

Principally known for his work in low-energy nuclear physics, Nierenberg was a leading authority in areas of underwater research and warfare.

“”The Nieren-berg Prize will annually honor the name of William A. Nierenberg by promoting the idea of good science in the public interest,”” Kennel said. “”The prize will reflect Scripps’ mission to seek, teach and communicate scientific understanding of the earth for the benefit of society and the environment.””

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$0
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$0
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal