Cesare Emiliani

Italian-American scientist, geologist, micropaleontologist, and founder of paleoceanography

Cesare Emiliani (8 December 1922 – 20 July 1995) was an Italian-American scientist, geologist, micropaleontologist, and founder of paleoceanography. He developed the timescale of marine isotope stages which is still used today.

He established that the ice ages of the last half million years or so are a cyclic phenomenon. This supported the ideas of Milankovitch and revolutionized ideas about the history of the oceans and the glaciations. He was also the proponent of Project "LOCO" (for Long Cores) to the U.S. National Science Foundation. The project was a success. It gave evidence of the history of the oceans and tested the hypotheses of seafloor spreading and plate tectonics.

Cesare Emiliani was honored by having the genus Emiliania erected as home for the taxon huxlei. This had previously been called Coccolithus huxleii. He was awarded the Vega Medal of the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography (SSAG) in 1983, and the Alexander Agassiz Medal of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1989 for his isotopic studies on Pleistocene and Holocene planktic foraminifera.

Selected worksEdit

  • Emiliani C. 1954. Depth habitats of some species of pelagic foraminifera as indicated by oxygen isotope ratios. American Journal of Science 252:149–158
  • Emiliani C. 1957. Temperature and age analysis of deepsea cores. Science 125:383–385
  • Emiliani C. 1968. The Pleistocene epoch and the evolution of man. Current Anthropology 9:27–47
  • Emiliani C. 1971. Depth habitats and growth stages of pelagic formanifera. Science 173:1122–1124
  • Emiliani, Cesare 1992. Planet Earth : cosmology, geology, & the evolution of life & the environment. Cambridge University Press. (paperback edition ISBN 0-521-40949-7)