Edward O Wilson made his name by arguing that two apparently disparate things – human society and the natural world – are governed by the same principles. Sean B Carroll made his name by unifying the study of humans and animals, showing that development in both is driven by the same fundamental molecular and genetic processes. So what happened when these two scientists were brought together? They decided to unify all of biology.
Carroll visited Wilson’s office at Harvard University for a free-ranging, hours-long chat. It covered concerns for the future and reminiscing about the past – and morphed into an idea for a global campaign to unite biologists behind the common cause of saving the natural world, a prerequisite for understanding it.