Alfred E. Emerson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alfred E. Emerson
Born (1896-12-31)December 31, 1896
Ithaca, New York
Died October 3, 1976(1976-10-03) (aged 79)
Alma mater Cornell University
Scientific career
Institutions University of Chicago
Doctoral students Robert Sokal

Alfred Edwards Emerson, Jr. (December 31, 1896 – October 3, 1976) was an American biologist, Professor of Zoology at the University of Chicago, a noted entomologist and leading authority on termites.[1]

Emerson was born in Ithaca, New York. His father, Alfred Emerson, Sr. was an archaeologist and professor at Cornell University, and his mother Alice Edwards Emerson a concert pianist. His sister Edith Emerson became an artist and museum curator,[2] and his sister Gertrude Emerson Sen the editor of Asia magazine. He received a B.Sc., M.Sc. and in 1925 a Ph.D. in biology from Cornell University.

From 1929 to 1962 he was Professor of Zoology at the University of Chicago. From 1940 to 1976 was Research Associate of the American Museum of Natural History. In 1941 he served as President of the Ecological Society of America, and in 1958 as President of the Society of Systematic Zoology.[3]

In a posthumous biography of Emerson, Wilson and Michener (1982)[1] stated:

"Until his death he was the leading authority on termites, a restless technical expert who contributed massively to their classification, anatomy, and biogeography. He was also an important contributor to modern ecology, one of the synthesizers of 1940s and 1950's who brought the large quantities of new data on adaptation, physiology, behavior, and distribution into line with the emerging principles."


  • 1925. Termites of the Belgian Congo and the Cameroon
  • 1938. Termite nests--a study of the phylogeny of behavior
  • 1939. "Social Coordination and the Superorganism" in: American Midland Naturalist. Vol. 21, No. 1 (Jan., 1939), pp. 182–209
  • 1949. Principles of animal ecology. With W.C. Alice, O. Park, T. Park, and K.P. Schmidt. Philadelphia : Saunders.


  1. ^ a b E.O. Wilson, C.D. Michener - (1982) Alfred Edwards Emerson
  2. ^ Newsome, Laura (May 2011). "Guide to the Emerson Family Papers circa 1840-1980" (PDF). Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. Retrieved 4 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Dr. Alfred E. Emerson at, retrieved November 13, 2012.

External links[edit]