Understanding the world around us and using this knowledge to improve human society are hallmarks of Benjamin Franklin's 18th Century world. A classic example of this scientific thinking is Franklin's study of electricity and lightning, translated into the protection of structures and people. He used his deep understanding of the natural world to improve society. This is also a hallmark of the career of this year's honoree.
On January 17, 2014, Celebration! Benjamin Franklin, Founder presented the Franklin Founders Award to Dr. Edward O. Wilson in recognition of his lifetime of work in the natural sciences, and his insights into the genetic basis of the social behavior of animals, including humans.
Recognized worldwide as a leading authority on ants, Dr. Wilson has used his findings on social species to develop cutting-edge theories about human behavior. His 2012 book, The Social Conquest of Earth, looks at altruism and conflict in human society. Dr. Wilson, who received the Pulitzer Prize in 1979, is an emeritus professor at Harvard University.
The day's Philadelphia celebration included a free morning seminar on the topic of Observing the World, featuring:
A procession up 5th Street to Dr. Franklin's grave was followed by a luncheon honoring Dr. Wilson.