OCTOBER 24

Luckily for the rest of us, a childhood fishing accident cost Edward O. Wilson clear vision in his right eye, while an adolescent disease ruined his hearing in the uppermost registers. The half-deaf, half-blind boy couldn’t hear or see birds, so he lay on his stomach in the dirt and focused his good eye on the animals he could observe: insects. Wilson never grew out of his bug phase, creeping and crawling his way to fame as the world’s leading authority on ants (as well as on evolutionary biology). But the entomologist doesn’t just do science, he popularizes it, and his eloquent new autobiography Naturalist will remind his colleagues why they fell in love with Mother Nature, and will make the rest of us wish that we, too, had spent our college years bushwhacking through Alabama collecting fire ants. Wilson discusses his own natural history at 8 p.m. in the Museum of Natural History’s Baird Auditorium, 10th & Constitution Ave. NW. $16. (202) 357-3030. (David Plotz)

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