July 19, 2012

Video of the Week: E.O. Wilson’s Advice to Young Scientists about Facing Math and Excelling in Your Field

by Christine Hoekenga

For many students, even those majoring in science, math is a four-letter word. But renowned evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson has a message for aspiring scientists:  “If you are a bit short in mathematical skills, don’t worry.”

Wilson–who didn’t take algebra until his freshman year of college or calculus until he was 32 and a tenured professor at Harvard–wants students and young scientists to know that they can catch up.
In our video of the week, Wilson offers advice on how to tackle fear of math, how to find the field of study that fits you, and how to excel even if math isn’t your strong suit. He implores young people to go into the sciences, saying: “The world needs you, badly.”


At Visionlearning, we know that many students struggle with the mathematical components of their science courses.  That’s why we’re excited to begin work on a series of new modules covering mathematical concepts and skills commonly used in the sciences, from biology to geology. We’ll let you know when the first module is ready, and we hope you’ll give us your feedback.

In the meantime, is there a mathematical concept that you (or your students) struggle with?  Has there ever been a time when math held you back in your career or studies?

Christine Hoekenga

Written by

Christine is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist, specializing in science and nature. She holds an Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Media Studies and a Master's of Science Writing. She has been working in science communication and education for nearly a decade as a journalist, an organizer for conservation groups, and a museum educator. Before joining the Visionlearning team, she served as the New Media and Online Community Manager for the Webby award-winning Smithsonian Ocean Portal. Christine is assisting Visionlearning with developing new modules and glossary terms, managing the blog, and outreach through social media.

The views expressed above do not necessarily represent those of Visionlearning or our funding agencies.