DURHAM, N.C. – Biologist E.O. Wilson, one of the century’s most influential and widely cited scientists, will present a free lecture, “Setting Aside Half the World for the Rest of Life,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 24, at Duke University’s Reynolds Theater.

Wilson’s talk is part of “Biodiversity Days with E.O. Wilson,” a three-day gathering, April 23-25, that will bring many of the world’s leading scientists and conservationists to Duke for a series of public lectures and panel discussions on the most pressing conservation issues of our time.

A full list of lectures, discussions, public receptions and book-signings is online at www.nicholas.duke.edu/eowilson.

Biodiversity Days is sponsored by Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and the EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.

In his April 24 talk, Wilson will introduce his vision for “Half Earth”—the creation of permanent networks of protected and interconnected wild landscapes that are necessary to ensure the survival of the 10 million other species with which humans share the planet. The United States inspired the world when it invented national parks, Wilson will tell the audience, but now it’s time to take things to the next level.

Following his talk, he will take part in a panel discussion with four other conservation experts to discuss strategies for identifying and setting aside these networks of biodiverse landscapes, and turning his vision into a reality. Joining him in the discussion will be biologist Callum Roberts of the University of York; biologist Jim McClintock of the University of Alabama at Birmingham; humanitarian and philanthropist Greg Carr; and conservation ecologist Stuart Pimm of Duke.

Other highlights of “Biodiversity Days with E.O. Wilson” will include:


  • What Will It Take to Avert an Extinction Wave in the Oceans?” the James and Cathleen Stone Distinguished Lectureship in Biodiversity, by Callum Roberts at 6 p.m. with introductory comments by E.O. Wilson, April 25 at Love Auditorium.


  • Talks by Peter White, Gary Machlis, Todd Witcher and Greg Carr from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 24 in the Levine Science Research Building’s Love Auditorium.


  • Two short films and talks by Stuart Pimm, Bill Finch and Jim McClintock from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 25 at Love Auditorium, followed by a public reception with E.O. Wilson.


  • A reading and book-signing by Chris Norment, author of “Relicts of a Beautiful Sea: Survival, Extinction and Conservation in a Desert World,” at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 23 at Field Auditorium in Duke Environment Hall. 


All Biodiversity Days events are free and open to the public, but require a ticket. Tickets can be obtained online through the Duke University Box Office, by phone at (919) 684-4444, or in person at the Bryan Center Box Office weekdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Service charges apply to orders placed by phone or online.

Parking details:  For Thursday's Chris Norment lecture and reading on April 23, street parking is available after 5 p.m. on Circuit Drive and LaSalle Street. For all Friday events parking is available in the Bryan Center parking deck. For all Saturday, April 25 events, parking will be available in the Circuit Lot (gates will be up) at Circuit Drive and LaSalle Street and along both of these streets.

For additional information, contact eowilsonevents@nicholas.duke.edu.