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E.O. Wilson On ‘Letters To A Young Scientist’

Bees disappearing. Cicadas coming out. A new generation of scientists coming up. We’ll talk with super-biologist E.O. Wilson about our future and nature.

Scientist and Pulitzer Prize-winner E.O. Wilson joined On Point live in studio. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Scientist and Pulitzer Prize-winner E.O. Wilson joined On Point live in studio. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Super biologist, naturalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner E.O. Wilson is as big as popular figures come in science these days.  Father of sociobiology. Master of ants.  Marvelous communicator.

He’s 83 now.  But once, E.O. Wilson was just an Alabama kid crazy about snakes and bugs.  He followed a passion for the natural world around him into a life in science.

Now he wants to show others — young people — the way. The country needs you, he says to the young.  The world needs you.

Up next On Point:  “Letters To A Young Scientist” from the great E.O. Wilson.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guest

E. O. Wilson, biologist, naturalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. A leading expert on ants, he is known as the father of sociobiology. Wilson is professor emeritus and honorary curator in entomology at Harvard University. His latest book is “Letters To A Young Scientist.”

Excerpt

Excerpted from Letters To A Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson. Copyright © 2013 by Edward O. Wilson. With the permission of the publisher, Liveright Publishing Corporation.

FIRST PASSION, THEN TRAINING

Book jacket for "Letters To A Young Scientist" by E.O. Wilson. (Courtesy W.W. Norton)

(Courtesy of W.W. Norton)

I believe it will help for me to start with this letter by telling you who I really am. This requires your going back with me to the summer of 1943, in the midst of the Second World War. I had just turned fourteen, and my hometown, the little city of Mobile, Alabama, had been largely taken over by the buildup of a wartime shipbuilding industry and military air base. Although I rode my bicycle around the streets of Mobile a couple of times as a potential emergency messenger, I remained oblivious to the great events occurring in the city and world. Instead, I spent a lot of my spare time — not required to be at school — earning merit badges in my quest to reach the Eagle rank in the Boy Scouts of America. Mostly, however, I explored nearby swamps and forests, collecting ants and butterflies. At home I attended to my menagerie of snakes and black widow spiders.

Global war meant that very few young men were available to serve as counselors at nearby Boy Scout Camp Pushmataha. The recruiters, having heard of my extracurricular activities, had asked me, I assume in desperation, to serve as the nature counselor. I was, of course, delighted with the prospect of a free summer camp experience doing approximately what I most wanted to do anyway. But I arrived at Pushmataha woefully underaged and underprepared in much of anything but ants and butterflies. I was nervous. Would the other scouts, some older than I, laugh at what I had to offer? Then I had an inspiration: snakes. Most people are simultaneously frightened, riveted, and instinctively interested in snakes. It’s in the genes. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the south — central Gulf coast is home to the largest variety of snakes in North America, upward of forty species. So upon arrival I got some of the other campers to help me build some cages from wooden crates and window screen. Then I directed all residents of the camp to join me in a summer — long hunt for snakes whenever their regular schedules allowed.

Thereafter, on an average of several times a day, the cry rang out from somewhere in the woods: Snake! Snake! All within hearing distance would rush to the spot, calling to others, while I, snake-wrangler-in-chief, was fetched.

If nonvenomous, I would simply grab it. If venomous, I would first press it down just behind the head with a stick, roll the stick forward until its head was immobile, then grasp it by the neck and lift it up. I’d then identify it for the gathering circle of scouts and deliver what little I knew about the species (usually very little, but they knew less). Then we would walk to headquarters and deposit it in a cage for a residence of a week or so. I’d deliver short talks at our zoo, throw in something new I learned about local insects and other animals. (I scored zero on plants.) The summer rolled by pleasantly for me and my small army.

The only thing that could interrupt this happy career was, of course, a snake. I have since learned that all snake specialists, scientists and amateurs alike, apparently get bitten at least once by a venomous snake. I was not to be an exception. Halfway through the summer I was cleaning out a cage that contained several pygmy rattlesnakes, a venomous but not deadly species. One coiled closer to my hand than I’d realized, suddenly uncoiled, and struck me on the left index finger. After first aid in a doctor’s office near the camp, which was too late to do any good, I was sent home to rest my swollen left hand and arm. Upon returning to Pushmataha a week later, I was instructed by the adult director of the camp, as I already had been by my parents, that I was to catch no more venomous snakes.

E.O. Wilson (Alex Harris, courtesy W.W. Norton)

E.O. Wilson looks at ants. (Alex Harris, courtesy of W.W. Norton)

At the end of the season, as we all prepared to leave, the director held a popularity poll. The campers, most of whom were assistant snake hunters, placed me second, just behind the chief counselor. I had found my life’s work. Although the goal was not yet clearly defined then in my adolescent mind, I was going to be a scientist — and a professor.

Through high school I paid very little attention to my classes. Thanks to the relatively relaxed school systems of south Alabama in wartime, with overworked and distracted teachers, I got away with it. One memorable day at Mobile’s Murphy High School, I captured with a sweep of my hand and killed twenty houseflies, then lined them up on my desk for the next hour’s class to find. The following day the teacher, a young lady with considerable aplomb, congratulated me but kept a closer eye on me thereafter. That is all I remember, I am embarrassed to say, about my first year in high school.

I arrived at the University of Alabama shortly after my seventeenth birthday, the first member of my family on either side to attend college. I had by this time shifted from snakes and flies to ants. Now determined to be an entomologist and work in the outdoors as much as possible, I kept up enough effort to make A’s. I found that not very difficult (it is, I’m told, very different today), but soaked up all the elementary and intermediate chemistry and biology available.

Harvard University was similarly tolerant when I arrived as a Ph.D. student in 1951. I was considered a prodigy in field biology and entomology, and was allowed to make up the many gaps in general biology left from my happy days in Alabama. The momentum I built up in my southern childhood and at Harvard carried through to an appointment at Harvard as assistant professor. There followed more than six decades of fruitful work at this great university.

I’ve told you my Pushmataha-to-Harvard story not to recommend my kind of eccentricity (although in the right circumstances it could be of advantage); and I disavow my casual approach to early formal education. I grew up in a different age. You, in contrast, are well into a different era, where opportunity is broader but more demanding.

My confessional instead is intended to illustrate an important principle I’ve seen unfold in the careers of many successful scientists. It is quite simple: put passion ahead of training. Feel out in any way you can what you most want to do in science, or technology, or some other science-related profession. Obey that passion as long as it lasts. Feed it with the knowledge the mind needs to grow. Sample other subjects, acquire a general education in science, and be smart enough to switch to a greater love if one appears. But don’t just drift through courses in science hoping that love will come to you. Maybe it will, but don’t take the chance. As in other big choices in your life, there is too much at stake. Decision and hard work based on enduring passion will never fail you.

Tweets From During The Show

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  • asuka langley sohryu

    Professor Wilson’s advice all seems good to me: be guided by your intellectual passions, don’t be lazy, be flexible and canny. But why science rather than any of the other fields to apply one’s intelligence? I think really putting your brains to work is bound to be have some value whatever the field.

    • brettearle

      Frankly, I seriously doubt that Dr. Wilson is advocating the pursuit of knowledge through Science, only.

      What makes you think that he has either said this or implied this?

      • asuka langley sohryu

        From what I have read elsewhere, he wants to attract people to science specifically as a career, concerned that feelings of insecurity in higher math may be leading some to pursue other possibilities.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    ‘Oh Mr. Wilson…’, as Dennis the Menace would say; might you be so kind as to help me with the name of the bacteria species that has six different sexes ? That’s correct I said six different sexes ? I read about this sometime ago but did not take the time to log it, as I wish I would have. ( Kind’a hard to get your head around, isn’t it ? ) This species changes our perceptions of what is; “natures way“.

    PS.

    If we can get biologist off of their butts, and get to work with thinkers, such as, Aubrey de Grey, we can start turning old scientist into young scientist :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aubrey_de_Grey

  • Yar

    We have the equivalent of Citizens United in Science, where vested interests in certain results spend money on targeted science that supports desired results.  Coupled with attempts to de-fund peer review, and regulators which approve all kinds of biological disruptors based on sketchy data.  I read an article just yesterday on a difference in Europe and the US in the regulatory process.

    It said,
    “The pesticides are considered guilty until proven innocent, and so they’re preventively banned, even before the scientific case is rock solid. That’s not unusual for European environmental regulation, especially in regards to chemicals. In the U.S.it’s the reverse—before the federal government is likely to take the step of banning a class of pesticides, and pissing off the multi-billion dollar chemical industry, you’re likely to see a lot more science done.”   
    http://science.time.com/2013/05/07/beepocalypse-redux-honey-bees-are-still-dying-and-we-still-dont-know-why/#ixzz2Sf9Mo5D7

    Our attempts to play God have made life much too complicated. We need to make our interactions with the environment much simpler, so we have a chance to understand cause and effect.
     

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Herzog/1581337775 Matthew Herzog

      I too would prefer the European approach to pesticides. 

      We aren’t attempting to play God. Corporations and even many small scale farmers are monomaniacally focused on profit. 

       

    • sickofthechit

       Remember what one of the guests or callers said yesterday about the only thing that can be profitably produced in our country is chemicals.  We are doomed.

  • ToyYoda

    Please also talk about the Huanglongbing disease that has a good chance of wiping out the entire Florida citrus industry.

  • ToyYoda

    Please also talk about the massive battle of continental size taking place between Asian needle ants and Argentine ants.

  • ToyYoda

    Please ask EO Wilson his general opinion on GM crops, plant, and tree species.  What does he think of the experiment in upstate NY where they are adding wheat and Chinese Chestnut genes into the American Chestnut tree to combat C. parasitica?

  • RRRyanPawlet

    Please ask him if he could write an abridged version for 10-14 year olds. We need to keep the passion from them!

    • sickofthechit

       The best introductory science book I have ever seen was Six Legged Science.  It included the classic poem to spare the life of a flea.

      That flea bit me
      and it bit thee
      and in that flea
      our bloods mingled be….

      Cover was white with an illustrated insect on the cover.

  • AC

    ask him about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch…..!

  • Purpletea

    Is there any way that schools could encourage students with passion but without good grades?

  • Jim

    Are we kidding Tom? Science is financially unrewarding… 

    why not go for wall street and other occupation where we can make Money. look, our economy does not afford low and middle class families to invest their kids in science. studying science is now considered a luxury. 

    How many can become the next Louis Pasteur or Ramanujan? the last guy died being poor and destitute.

    in our economy… we are forced to make instant money to survive. 

    • brettearle

      Why don’t you spend time in libraries; general book stores; text book stores, the bibliography of science journals; and the science faculty staff of American and Foreign Universities of all kinds…..and tally up how many Americans are still up and coming, as scientists?

      My guess is that you would retract your statement.

      Economic crises–or even Global tragedies–do not prevent men and women from pursuing knowledge, successfully.

      • Jim

        maybe… i hope you are right. but i have stats to point to the contrary…  how many americans are currently studying physics and chemistry compared with 10 years back. do you have the numbers?

        • brettearle

          I am not suggesting we are experiencing a revitalization.

          What I am saying is that, `Rumors of American Scientists’ Deaths are  exaggerated.’

  • beebop

    How do you see the gender gap in the science, especially for children at young age..is it changing? 

  • RolloMartins

    Science originating in Western Europe? I thought the Arabs invented it around the 8th C?? Also China perhaps in the 7th C??

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-Herzog/1581337775 Matthew Herzog

    Hey Tom, ask Wilson what he thinks about bringing in all those STEM workers from abroad. Perfect tie-in to yesterday’s show.

  • Prof_Sarah

    Starting science education with passion is brilliant; Yo Yo Ma talks of “passion driven education” in arts learning too. How can education at all levels start from passion and inquiry rather than compartmentalization?

    • brettearle

      Is it because the notion of a Liberal Arts education is too broad these days, to be pragmatic…..in terms of the pressured expectations of a college graduate and his/her relationship to the ephemeral nature of the workplace and the mercurial economic times?

  • sickofthechit

    The best introductory science book I have ever seen was a small paperback called “Six Legged Science”.

    Why doesn’t the good Professor do a video series like Sister Wendy’s art programs on BBC?  This guy is a natural.
    charles a. bowsher

    • brettearle

       Great idea.

  • ToyYoda

    I’ve heard lots of horror stories from grad students who tell me that advisors often view grad students as a source or cheap labor and ideas, and that they often delay the granting of advanced degrees in order to extract as much as they can.  What advice do you give to grad students who find themselves in that situation? It’s hard enough to master your subject, but now you have to play a political game too.

  • uugeecee

    I’d like to echo Purletea’s comment. Please ask Dr. Wilson if there “is any way that schools could encourage students with passion but without good grades?” 

  • Tim (TPO)

    Mr. Wilson, do you think it is every too late in life for someone to pursue a career in science? I’m 42, have a B.S. in Computer Information Systems and a minor in Earth and Space Studies. My career has taken me into the IT field but my passion is still Earth Science. 

    • ToyYoda

      I hear petroleum geologist, or geologist hired by energy companies get paid a handsome salary.

      I’m 40, and I thought about switching careers,  but I think as you get older, you can’t completely abandon reality like you could when you were in your 20′s to pursue a pie in the sky career.

      I figure, one would have to compromise between the skills acquired and the new ones you dream of.So in your case, you might want to look at GIS –  Geographic Information Systems.  It’s actually a fascinating subject can include such diverse topics as machine vision to measure urban sprawl, or river drought.  And, somewhere there is probably an energy company that could use one.

      If you can spin it right, maybe your company can pay for the degree.  If not, find a company that needs your skills, but can.  

      Good luck.

      • Tim (TPO)

        Yes, GIS is an alternative I’ve definitely been considering. I took a couple of classes when I was in college but the industry had not taken off at the time and jobs in the field were scarce in my neck of the woods.

        It’s probably the best route to at this point in my life if I decided go back to school.

        Thanks for you input.

  • Edward

    I couldn’t agree with Dr. Wilson more. I spent most of my childhood collecting insects and learning all of the orders and families and many scientific names. Read everything at the public library on Entomology.  Planned to become an entomologist when I entered college. One year of calculus and chemistry destroyed my desire to be a biology major.  I wish I could have found a way to make a career out of my passion. Too bad I didn’t have Dr. Wilson as a teacher.

  • louisa demerjian

    I am curious to know who you imagine your reader being?  At what age do you expect people to read this?  My daughter is a budding scientist and she has so much passion that I think it will stick; however, she is only 7 years old.  When do you expect this book to be read?

    • sickofthechit

       Get her Six Legged Science by Brian Hocking.  It’s available on-line at Amazon…..

  • Boston_mom

    I’d like to ask Mr. Wilson about my 8-year-old daughter, who has a brilliant scientific mind and a brilliant memory. The problem is, she is struggling in the testing-focused school system. I’ve recently considered trying to get her into a more hands-on charter school to foster, and not squelch her curiosity as I fear public school might be doing. What are his thoughts on non-traditional elementary-high school education? I have a rebellious streak of my own regarding public schools because I know how incredibly bright she is. She just has a creative and scientific perspective that I feel is not enhanced in a cookie-cutter, traditional, teach-to-the-test system. That said, I’m afraid of a stigma that might be attached to a non-traditional school. 

    • sickofthechit

       Waldorf based school curricula.

      • Boston_mom

        Her dad went to Waldorf, it’s definitely a big consideration… just expensive. 

    • brettearle

      What stigma do you mean?….

      that as a student, matriculating in such a school, she might be considered an outsider or eccentric?

      • Boston_mom

        I’m not sure…. maybe the fear is just my own. Charter schools largely proliferated after I was in school so I haven’t met many who have attended. I have heard good things about one in our area as having a very hands-on curriculum as opposed to test-based.

        • brettearle

          You may or may not have heard of Bronx Science in NYC.

          This is a public school that accepts young students based on their math and science merit.

          While your child would likely not be qualified for that school–unless you were to move to NYC–you might `scour the countryside’ to see if there are some schools or curricula like that.

          If your child has the aptitude, she’d likely qualify.

          [Although I should tell you that I have received national attention for my work and, years ago, failed my aptitude test in the very area that is, indeed, my life's work.]

          • Boston_mom

            Thank you, those words came at just the right time. I just got an email from my daughter’s teacher saying she wanted to discuss some concerns she has for her since third grade is on the horizon (read: MCAS). She is so smart, naturally curious and makes fantastic connections in nature and science. She just doesn’t seem to learn as well in a traditional classroom setting. I appreciate your suggestion. 

          • brettearle

            In order for a child to be properly nurtured, it seems to me, the right person needs to to see it in your child….and that person MUST BE motivated to do some of the formal academic nurturing.

            Otherwise, it can be a Fool’s Errand (although it may not be).

            It is, indeed, a special challenge to take a young talent through a conventional curricula.

            Is can almost be like portaging an Eskimo to the Tropics and asking him to survive there, without prior exposure and training.

            I am, of course, exaggerating to make a point.

            You need to get a second (and, possibly, a third opinion).

            Make sure they are competent people who don’t simply want to tell you what you want to hear.

            Why don’t you call Dr. Alvin Pouissant [sp?] at The Judge Baker Clinic, in Boston?

          • Boston_mom

            I Googled him and see he left the clinic following his criticism of the Baby Einstein series and subsequent settlements/payouts, and is now at Harvard. What type of opinion would I be seeking? Her aptitude for science? Her intelligence is indisputable (said her mother) but she is not flourishing in a traditional classroom environment… and neither did I. I’d hate to see her get bored and stop trying, as I did so many years ago.

          • brettearle

            Before you react expediently, you need to do careful research, it seems to me, to see who to approach and what questions to ask.

            You may also need to find out, more concretely, about your child’s actual aptitude in the sciences.

            It makes absolute sense, it also seems to me, to assume that you need to form a strategy to see that your child receives the right navigation–unless you are otherwise advised of the notion that your child may not excel, in what you think she excels in.

            We can continue the conversation, if you start a new comment, at the top of the thread.

            I am not sure that I fully understood the Dr. Poussaint controversy, from the link.

            What was the big deal?

          • Boston_mom

            I replied at top of thread.

          • Boston_mom

            PS I find this horrifyingly discouraging: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/education/01brfs-PSYCHIATRIST_BRF.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&ref=alvinfpoussaint&adxnnlx=1368031033-XXlnjwg1+aIvPYCocNRLhQ

  • http://www.facebook.com/jparitte Jackie Paritte

    The problem with science is that there is a huge discrepancy between how it is taught and what the jobs are really like.  Students are wooed with the idea of being naturalists and making great discoveries, but modern jobs in science are rarely like that anymore. Science jobs are mostly regulatory or more concerned publication rate and tenure than wonder and exploration.  If we really want to attract people to science, we need to be promoting it to people who like to do repetitive lab work and meticulous data analysis.  If we keep duping students into science by telling them they can all be world traveling naturalists, we will only continue to produce people who end up disappointed with science.

    • brettearle

       Sadly, I think, the same is true in MANY professions.

  • arachno

    As a woman scientist who struggles daily with the deep institutional biases in science against women and minorities, does Dr. Wilson have any notions how to improve this?  I struggle daily to prove that I am not worse than every male in my department.

  • Elizabeth Jones

    Does Dr. Wilson have any advice for a scientist who got his PhD in physics at age 40 and did research only during grad school?  I would like to continue doing research, but it seems no one wants to hire someone just starting a career at my age.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Speaking of colony collapse disorder, in our own population we have seen the growth in MS, autism, ADHD, diabetes, obesity and many other diseases… Professor Wilson, dp you see these warning signs of an oncoming collapse of our population due to toxins, food additives and diet?

  • mjbradlee

    The flip side of nurturing the scientific mind is nurturing the artistic self. I am a research scientist and an artist. I cannot separate the two, and met many scientists that are artists and many artists the are just as fascinated with science. They are two sides of the same coin and I would encourage nurturing both simultaneously, even if as adults we must decide on one path over the other.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rickevans033050 Rick Evans

    My (crazy) advice to the wannabe astrophysicist. Complete your undergraduate B.S. as if you were going to grad school. Then qualify as a H.S. teacher and find a professor willing to guide you in using the huge volumes of raw astrophysical data going up on line on a daily basis.  You can start publishing in relative short order while being gainfully employed teaching high school physics.

    • The_Truth_Seeker

      Doesn’t it cost real money to publish in peer reviewed journals? 

  • Potter

    It’s a total joy to listen to EO Wilson. He is so right about so much but especially about education and the advice to pursue one’s bliss, one’s passion, first.

    • The_Truth_Seeker

      Where, on Ebay? How do you make a living doing this (for example social work, art, invention)?

  • originalname37

    I wish I’d read this 25 years ago.

  • Boston_mom

    Thanks Brettearle. I do not know for sure her aptitude in science, it’s just a feeling I have based on her interest, curiosity, love of nature and ability to think (practically solely) in abstraction. Sounds like the Poussasint controversy was because the clinic tried to stop him from criticizing the “making babies smart” marketing approach, and he refused. Either way, regardless of whether she is a child science protege, it’s worth exploring some alternative avenues for her, so I appreciate you having this conversation with me.  

    • brettearle

      It’s good that you’re starting early on this, I think.

      [But her path may not be what could have been yours (or what yours isn't up until now, but still could be).  My intention, in this last sentence was not to offend you; it was designed to define the reality of the situation as you defined it to me.]

      But it sounds to me like you need more to go on.

      Do some research on how to tell about aptitude??

      Somehow, find out whether you should talk to her teachers.

      But her teachers may NEVER be equipped to talk to you about her (I don’t mean the MCAS)–not simply because they are not qualified; but also because they may not know how to encourage her; or they may not feel drawn to your child’s temperament or personality [that DOES happen--and don't let anyone tell you it doesn't].

      Perhaps an educational psychologist?

      They exist….they could do an evaluation.  There are some “lone wolves” in this profession or there are consortiums, I believe.

      But it might be hard to network, to find the right ones, I would imagine….

      The whole effort can be challenging.

      There was a “New Yorker” article, about this, some years back….about the humungous journey that some parents went through to get their child the proper schooling for his/her special needs and/or aptitude…

      I guess the “Making Babies Smart” series was close to `On Point’ for our discussion….

      • Boston_mom

        I’m not at all offended. I realize that my daughter and I will have and have already had different experiences in life. I just already hear some of the same refrains I heard — “lacks focus,” “doesn’t pay attention,” — that make me want to protect her from feeling inadequate, whether it is through an early science program, via some other type of hands-on learning curriculum or through some other route. I know how smart and capable she is, though I feel there’s been a decline in her love for learning since starting grade school. She was measuring at the highest reading level, but is declining. This means little to me on one hand, and at times I have a hard time balancing how much pressure or emphasis to put on her since I feel traditional schooling leaves out and under-stimulates so many different types of thinkers and personalities. I would posit that her reading level has not actually declined, but that she could be losing confidence. She convinced me to buy her Theodore Gray’s book, “The Elements,” at her first-grade book fair, and she will sit and read it at times (with some help). She taught herself to read in kindergarten because she wanted to read Calvin & Hobbes comics. She has animal facts many adults don’t know; she informed me about ungulates at age five. All of this, but I’m getting increasing amounts of feedback that she is not keeping up academically. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around.

        To your point about personalities, I think some perceive her as vacant; I realize I come with a mom bias, but I believe from watching her since birth that there’s just so much going on in there, her thoughts can difficult for her to process. I’m encouraging her to write and draw, and I think that helps. She is an incredibly creative, sensitive, big-hearted child with a naivety many her age no longer possess (which I think is sad, as I feel it’s age-appropriate). She cares for all living creatures (unless it’s dinner time, and then, she’s amazingly unaffected if it’s the cow we fed at the neighborhood farm on her plate). She wants to learn everything there is to know about them. She does not discriminate between species. A slug is as important as an elephant to her.I thought Dr. Proussaint’s adherence to his point about making children targets of marketing campaigns and refusing to stop criticizing Disney was admirable. Maybe I can connect with him at Harvard. I did contact the geneticist who discovered which gene creates the very rare form of skeletal dysplasia my 6-year-old son has because there was so little information out there about it. He was very helpful and nice. Anyway, I appreciate all your suggestions and ideas. If nothing else, I will hold on to the words that you failed an aptitude test in the subject that is your life’s work. Important to maintain perspective. Thank you.

        • brettearle

          Happy to help.

          Please read,

          DIBS:In Search of the Self.

          It may not really be about someone like your daughter, of course, but you might glean some important “stuff” from this classic.

          When we’re on another thread together, sometime in the Future, let me know what you thought of the book–and whether it has any relevance for you and your daughter.

          In the meantime, try to find out WHY she’s currently being challenged, by her studies so much–without, of course, doing something that I, or ANYONE ELSE, might be tempted to do, without realizing:

          To go off panicked; and, therefore,  smothering the situation with oppressive worries and anxieties.

          All the Best….    

          • brettearle

             Oh, yeah….

            Judge Baker sounds like they blatantly overreacted in that situation.

            Doesn’t make sense.

            Must be more to the story, behind the scenes. 

            Could be one of, them’ there’, Ego-Power struggles.

            [They usually are....]

          • Boston_mom

            Thanks, I’ll check it out, though at a glance it doesn’t seem very relevant to her or our situation. Still, always room to learn more. I don’t believe we’re oppressive or smothering any situation, just doing what parents do… exploring avenues to help our children thrive. 

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    Ah, yes – but most companies want to just give up on young American STEM graduates and bring in lots more H1B workers at much lower wages!!! So, why again, should young Americans study science and engineering again and does our President and those in Congress understand anything at all about the STEM fields and what motivates them??? Also, what about the new AIA (“America Invents Act”)? Won’t that put ANOTHER nail in the coffin of reasons for young people to study science (much less invention)??

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    Tenured faculty should never talk about how great the fields of science and engineering are, since they probably haven’t been in the real world for several decades. Let’s replace most of them with “H1B professors” and THEN see what they think about careers in science and engineering!

    • Wm_James_from_Missouri

      Why stop there. Let’s replace most of those that lead and rule us with H1B’s and see how they like the world they have been creating !

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brennan-Moriarty/100000655771831 Brennan Moriarty

    My question is a fundamental one of _Geo-cultural_ preparation, reparation and poly-scientific INTERVENTION. Even where “history” is shallow, results usually are not; (human) case studies abound , yet contention rebounds and deflects. and reflection is like being a happy-looser [psych'0-stastistics 0=1st generation {Steve Jobs would be [-1] being adopted and 1st gen geographically} or the negativity[ism] of feminization/terrorism/substance-abuse. From a net of exposure to a gross of shelter: in the early-teen transition area/Zone.
    How can we sENd-courage not “to” but _from_ _where the norms contradict… or where general…adversity has not received the subliminal{normative} massage or technical perception and frontline interception.
     Whether ignorance or virtue, acknowledged or cosmic suture of the searcher [I could write this better, but I -myself- am not in the ideal environment, and while we [collectively] roll our eyes at that helpless statement :)
    The American revolution was based on alien/imperial ignorance to local conditions and subconscious… needs. And they didn’t want to know :( “they” refers to the one on top -that’s US. [I...guess??] ;;;so let’s say that “you know”, QUANTIFICATION::: how do you activate the isolate while compounding the depth[?].
    How do you do what hasn’t been done with pragmatic deeds that keep the world [us] as one.

  • Pingback: E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation » E.O. Wilson Interviewed on “On Point” Public Radio Show about “Letters to a Young Scientist”

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Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

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Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

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Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

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Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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