Contact: Diane Greenberg (516)344-2347 or Mona S. Rowe (516)344-5056




Upton, NY - It has been said that insects will inherit the planet, but Thomas Eisner says they virtually own it already. As evidence, he points out that for every human alive, there are some 200 million insects.

Dr. Eisner, a world-renowned authority on animal behavior, ecology and evolution, will give a lecture on the language of insects at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory on Thursday, October 1, at 4 p.m. in the Laboratory's Berkner Hall. The lecture is the first of the Brookhaven Science Associates Distinguished Lecture Series, which features talks on various scientific topics of general interest. The talks are open to the public free of charge.

How did insects achieve such preeminence? The answer lies in their communicative skills. Entitled "Better Living (and Loving) Through Chemistry - Insect-Style," Dr. Eisner's talk will deal with what insects say to one another and how they say it. The talk will be illustrated by photographs.

Thomas Eisner earned a B.A. in 1951, and a Ph.D. in 1955, both in biology from Harvard University. After serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, he began his career at Cornell University, where he is now Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Chemical Ecology and Director of the Cornell Institute for Research in Chemical Ecology.

A field biologist with working experience on four continents, Dr. Eisner is an active conservationist. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Audubon Society, and the National Scientific Council of the Nature Conservancy, and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Recently, Dr. Eisner has advocated "chemical prospecting," the search for medicinals, agrochemicals, and other useful substances from nature, which may help fund Third World conservation programs. Also, he has brokered a prospecting partnership between Merck & Co. and Costa Rica that will engender revenue for preservation of Costa Rican biodiversity.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, Dr. Eisner is also President of the Xerces Society, an organization devoted to the preservation of invertebrates. Dr. Eisner has received numerous honors, including the National Medal of Science in 1994, the Gustavus J. Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest in 1991, Harvard University's Centennial Medal in 1989, and honorary degrees from universities in Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, and the U.S.

For more information about the lecture, call Brookhaven's Public Affairs Office at (516) 344-2345. The Laboratory is located on William Floyd Parkway (County Road 46), one-and-a-half miles north of Exit 68 on the Long Island Expressway.