John Cisne has been a Cornell faculty member since 1973. He graduated from Yale University in 1969 with a B.S. in geology and geophysics, and from the University of Chicago in 1973 with a Ph.D. in geophysical sciences.

Research Interests

Paleobiology: arthropods, population and community paleoecology, biometric study of evolution and stratigraphic distribution Stratigraphy, sedimentology, and tectonics: biostratigraphy, synthetic stratigraphy, basin mechanics, paleobathymetry Paleoceanography: sea-level change, chemical paleoceanography, ocean circulation Earth systems science: "Evolutionary geology" Quantitative analysis of information transmission in evolving systems History of Science

Teaching Interests

Cisne's teaching focuses on broad, introductory surveys of earth systems and their evolution, his favorite being EAS 1700, Evolution of the Earth and Life. He is perhaps best known on campus for his one-credit course on dinosaurs (EAS 1109).

Selected Publications

  • Cisne, John Luther, R. M. Ziomkowski, Steven J Schwager. 2010."Mathematical Philology: Entropy Information in Refining Classical Texts' Reconstruction, and Early Philologists' Anticipation of Information Theory."PLoS One5(1).
  • Cisne, John Luther. 2009."Stereoscopic comparison as the long-lost secret to microscopically detailed illumination like the Book of Kells."Perception38: 1087-1103.
  • Cisne, John Luther. 2005."Response to Comment on "How science survived: Medieval manuscripts' 'demography' and classic texts' extinction"."Science310(5754).
  • Cisne, John Luther. 2005."Treating medieval manuscripts as fossils - Response."Science309(5735): 699-+.
  • Cisne, John Luther. 2005."How science survived: Medieval manuscripts' "demography" and classic texts' extinction."Science307(5713): 1305-1307.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Fellow(American Association for the Advancement of Science) 1982
  • William Rainey Harper Fellow(University of Chicago) 1972
  • American Association of Mineralogical Societies Fellow(American Association of Mineralogical Societies) 1972
  • National Science Foundation Fellow(National Science Foundation) 1970
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellow 1969


  • B.S. (Geology and Geophysics),Yale University,1969
  • Ph.D.(Geophysical Engineering),University of Chicago,1973