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Thomas Eisner is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Chemical Ecology at Cornell Universitymarker, and Director of the Cornell Institute for Research in Chemical Ecology (CIRCE). He is a world authority on animal behavior, ecology, and evolution, and is one of the pioneers of chemical ecology, the discipline dealing with the chemical interactions of organisms. He is author or co-author of some 400 scientific articles and 7 books.

A field biologist with working experience on four continents, he is an active conservationist. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Audubon Societymarker, and the National Scientific Council of the Nature Conservancy, and is currently on the World Resources Institute Council. He is a past president of the American Society of Natualists, and former chairman of the Biology Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He played a key role in initiating the Congressional Fellow Program in Washington, and in efforts to preserve wilderness areas in Florida and Texas.

A member of the National Academy of Sciencesmarker, the American Academy of Arts and Sciencesmarker, and the American Philosophical Societymarker, he has received numerous honors, including the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the Harvard Centennial Medal, the National Medal of Science and the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science (2005) and holds honorary degrees from Swedenmarker, Germanymarker, Switzerlandmarker, and the United Statesmarker. He is a foreign fellow of The Royal Society, and a member of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina and Academia Europaea. He received the National Medal of Science in 1994. He is a well-known nature photographer, and has helped make award-winning film documentaries. He is an avid pianist and occasional conductor. He grew up in Uruguaymarker, is a naturalized American citizen, and received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard Universitymarker. His father was the chemist Hans Eisner, who escaped to Uruguay before Nazi persecution; Hans Eisner was a coworker of Fritz Haber at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Electrochemistry in Berlin. He later hold a chair for chemistry at Cornell.


  • Eisner, T, (2003) For Love of Insects. Harvard University Press.
  • Eisner, T, Eisner, M, & Siegler, M, (2005) SECRET WEAPONS: Defenses of Insects, Spiders, Scorpions, and Other Many-Legged Creatures. Harvard University Press.

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