Eric R. Eaton is a writer and is author of Wasps: The Astonishing Diversity of a Misunderstood Insect (Princeton University Press, 2021), and the forthcoming Insectpedia (Princeton University Press, 2022). He is also lead author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007), and co-author of Insects Did It First (Xlibris, 2018) with Gregory S. Paulson. He has contributed to several other books including Wild in the City: a guide to Portland’s natural areas (Oregon Historical Society Press, 2000); and has written articles about insects and other animals for Natural History, Birds and Blooms, Ranger Rick, Missouri Conservationist, and other magazines. Eric studied entomology at Oregon State University, and has worked as an entomologist at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), Cincinnati Zoo, and Chase Studio, Inc., as well as on private contract for the Smithsonian Institution, and West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. Eric writes the blogs Bug Eric and Sense of Misplaced and as "Bug Eric" he has built a loyal following on social media (Facebook, Twitter, iNaturalist).
We speak about Eric's career trajectory as an entomologist which doesn't follow the typical academic route, we spoke about some our shared frustrations with academia and how it can impact your love and motivation for science, and of course, we spoke about wasps - about how and why they make us feel they way they do, about how interesting and diverse they are outside of yellow-jackets and hornets, and how we can learn to appreciate what we've been trained not to.