He was born in Alabama, United States on 1929. He completed his Bachelor’s and Masters at University of Alabama and his Ph.D. at Harvard University. He later joined Harvard as an academic and became a professor in entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.
He is a biologist with expertise on many disciplines. He is the World’s leading authority in Myrmecology (Scientific study about ants) and he is also considered as the Father of Sociobiology. He is an eminent researcher and a talented author.
He was interested in insects from his childhood and developed a strong liking towards ants. He did many researches on their diversity, ecology and behaviors later in his life and published the book The Ants in 1990 with his colleague Bert Hölldobler. This work won the Pulitzer Prize for General non-fiction in 1991.
He studied the evolutionary mechanism behind social behaviors such as altruism and aggression and developed the concept sociobiology, the scientific or systematic study of the biological basis of all forms of social behavior through his book, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis published in 1975.
He has authored many more books during his life time. His work On Human Nature (1979) also won him a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction. He wrote an autobiography titled Naturalist in 1994. One of his recently published books, The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies (2009) which was written by him and Bert Hölldobler is considered as one of the best books on the subject.
He has been awarded by many science and civilian awards throughout his life.