Biology & Evolution Human & Social

Insect conservationist sets his sights on happiness

Insect conservationist Prof. Michael Samways is known for his conservation endeavours across the agricultural mosaic, for how he has helped to restore Seychelles island ecosystems and for his rediscovery of lost dragonflies. However, he recently pushed his academic writings aside for something different: a self-help book that combines deep philosophy and biology to give readers guidance on how to find happiness through giving out love and finding harmony in their lives.

His Alchemy of Love: finding love, harmony and happiness (published by Ayni Books) is available through Amazon in hard copy or as an e-book since the beginning of May. “It’s a multi-faceted self-help book that combines deep philosophy and biology on how to find happiness through giving out love and finding harmony in our lives,” elaborates this A-rated entomologist and conservationist who has chaired the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology at Stellenbosch University (SU)

World renowned Insect conservationist Prof. Michael Samways with a copy of his new book on love and happiness. Photo: Stefan Els/SU
World renowned Insect conservationist Prof. Michael Samways with a copy of his new book on love and happiness. Photo: Stefan Els/SU

for the past decade.

In the book, Prof. Samways combines his insights into spirituality, biochemistry and biology which he has gleaned after years of studying nature and learning from the spiritual leaders he met during his numerous travels. Besides giving biological insights on the more obvious aspects of romantic love, such as how to woo a woman and on finding a partner, Prof. Samways also dwells much deeper into tuning into our subtle senses, fixing our relationship with ourselves, and also the interactions with family and friends.

In the Western world at least, people aspire to finding love and happiness. Prof. Samways believes that all aspects of giving love (in its various forms) with enthusiasm converge on happiness, and that one’s spiritual journey to love and eventual happiness involves first overcoming trauma and disillusionment. He also believes that finding true romance involves understanding one’s deep emotions, biology and higher consciousness.

“Happiness, rather than being a goal, is then a reward,” he reflects. “It’s all an alchemical process based on recognizing our inner immutable being, and not letting the whims of the ego interfere with expression of the inner being.”

For his next book, Prof. Samways is returning to the field of entomology. He is now working on a major book with the publishers Wiley-Blackwell on matters relating to practical insect conservation.

Based on the scientific citation indexing service Web of Science’s latest rankings, Prof. Samways is now globally the leading author in insect conservation, and is ranked third among authors in biodiversity conservation. His publication list will soon top 300 full scientific papers. He has also authored 57 book chapters, and 15 books/special issues, all with major publishers,

Prof. Michael Samways in short:

  • Recipient of a Citation of Excellence from the World Conservation Union/Species Survival Commission Chair (2014)
  • Received the Distinguished Scientist Award (2011) at the Global Conference of Entomology
  • Recipient of the Senior Captain Scott Medal from the South Africa Academy for Science and Art, the John Herschel Medal from the Royal Society of South Africa, and the Gold Medal from the Academy of Science of South Africa.
  • Received SU Rector’s Awards, most notably a double in 2013 for both his publications and postgraduate output
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, a Member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa
  • Current President of the international Orthopterists’ Society.
  • Supervised 26 PhD and 38 MSc theses.


Note: This insert is based on an article that first appeared in Kampusnuus, the staff magazine of Stellenbosch University, and is used on Scibraai with permission.

Related posts

Why South Africa is finding it difficult to wean itself off coal


[New study] SA Super Rugby teams clocked up more kilometers

Engela Duvenage

Two hundred South Africans heading to Russia to train as nuclear engineers


Academics make jump to lightspeed internet


Sewe nuwe kewers in Wes-Kaapse berge gevind

Elsabé Brits

Citizen science crowdfunding project pays off

Engela Duvenage