Penn State

Jeffrey M. Catchmark - Associate Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The Future of Life

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Book Description:

In 2003 I decided to make a substantial career change and put aside my Ph.D. work and nearly 9 years of industrial experience in the area of semiconductor optoelectronics to become a biological engineer pursuing the study of cellulose and sustainable biologically derived materials. This was not an easy decision. Although I was fascinated by the biosynthesis and application of cellulose and other biopolymers, I knew virtually nothing about biology or biological materials. What I did know is that sustainability and ecological stewardship of our planet is more important than ever, and that the world needed researchers and teachers from diverse backgrounds to help address this important sociotechnological issue. Over the years I read many books pertaining to biology and biomaterials science, but one book stood out as being both insightful as well as inspirational. Edward O. Wilson published this book, The Future of Life, in 2002 about the time he retired from Harvard University as the Pellegrino University Research Professor in the Department of Entomology. In this book, Professor Wilson demonstrates his unwavering passion and broad perspective on the preservation of all life and the value such a pursuit has to humanity in its near and long term future. This book was inspirational to me, as I share this value and hoped at the time I read it that I could somehow contribute to that goal by developing ecologically compatible materials. This book is a must read for not only young engineers and scientists but for everyone as it provides both truth and hope that everyone can help shape our world toward a sustainable future for all life.

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