CV for Richard E Furnas



Richard Edward Furnas
Mathematics Department
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14850

Professional Preparation

  • Cornell University Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Ph.D. 1981
  • Universitaet Goettingen, Germany Math and Ecology Audit 1976
  • Goethe Institute, Staufen Germany German Language Study Mittelstufe 1976
  • University of Alaska Biology M.S. 1975
  • University of Alaska Mathematics M.S. 1975
  • Cornell University Cum Laude, Biology B.A. 1973


  • 1981–present Teaching Faculty, Department of Mathematics, Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
  • 1985-present Sole Proprietor, Microcomputer Power (Ithaca, NY)


Synergistic Activities

  • Statistical Analysis and Computer Support. Sole proprietor, Microcomputer Power. Microcomputer Power specializes in software for data analysis in Ecology. Provide problem domain expertise, as well as software application and computer technical support to over 3000 customers worldwide. Also provide software design advice and implementation suggestions to developers in The Netherlands and the Czech Republic. (1985-present); Support judicious use of technology in teaching and learning. Instructional Technology Office, Department of Mathematics, Cornell University (2007-present).
  • Mathematical and Statistical Applications. Provide Mathematics tutoring and application advice to members of the Cornell Community including undergraduate and graduate students as well as occasional faculty members in Math, Engineering, Chemistry, Biology. Mathematics Support Center, Cornell University (1981-present).
  • K-12 Outreach. Technology support of Mathematics Department Outreach and K-12 Education Coordinator at Cornell University (2006-present).

Collaborators and Other Affiliations

Cajo J. F. ter Braak (Biometris, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, The Netherlands); Mary Ann Huntley (Cornell University); Petr Smilauer (University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic); Maria Terrell (Cornell University)
Graduate Advisors:
Peter L. Marks (Professor Emeritus, Cornell University), Steve F. MacLean (Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks), Barbara Lando (University of Alaska, Fairbanks)


  • Parents:
    • Dr. Thomas C. Furnas (16 May 1922 - 12 July 2010), greatest Dad in the World; inventor of numerous designs in the fields of X-Ray Diffraction, X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy, and High Voltage connectors.
    • Judith Louise Furnas (25 April 1930 - 8 March 2010), world's greatest Mom to all six kids. Helpmeet to Dad. Personification of MomNet: "keeping the Furnas sibs informed about each other".
  • Siblings:
    • George: Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan
    • Bill: Engineer, Corning Glass, Corning, NY
    • Malou: Chemist with Baxter International, now on disability with multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome.
    • Tom: CTO with National Public Broadcasting, Cleveland, Ohio
    • Ebie: Consultant to Greater Cleveland Growth Association.
  • Former Wife: Louise, (b. 20 Dec 1949) (m. 17 Apr 1982) (div. Sep 2008) (d. 18 Oct 2016)
    • Music Teacher, Fall Creek Elementary
  • Son: Andy, (b. 10 Mar 1988)
    • PhD in October 2017 from the Discrete Differential Geometry Lab at the University of Goettingen
    • 2011 Marshall Scholor, University of Leeds, UK
    • 2011 Mathematics Major, Brown University Honor's Thesis "Mathematical Modeling of Woven Fabric"
    • 2006-2007 Rotary Exchange Student in Wangen Germany.
    • 2006 Accepted, Brown University. Deferred until Fall 2007.
  • Son: Ben, (b. 30 Oct 1984) See also: LinkedIn
    • 2014 - Present Deputy Director, Office of Policy and Planning, City of New York
    • 2013 Senior Policy Associate, New York City Office of the Public Advocate
    • 2009 - 2012 New York University School of Law
    • 2006 - 2009 Research Associate, Center For American Progress Action Fund, Washington, D.C. writing for and later researching various issues.
    • Cornell Class of 2006, Double Major in Economics and Government.

Volunteer Work

  • Volunteer Actor, primarily in Ithaca College Student Films. Tally is up to nearly three dozen as of Spring 2016.
  • Running to Places Theatre Company
    • 2010-2019 Board of Directors
  • Cornell Mathematical Contest in Modeling
    • 2008 - Present.
    • Help with problem design and judging of undergraduate student submissions.
    • Judging emphasizes reasonable problem formulation of an ill-posed, real world problem followed by mathematical exploration of possible solutions including refinements and testing for robustness of the solution.
  • Cayuga Nature Center:
    • 2000 - 2009 Board of Directors
    • Technology Guy: Network; Computers (Mac, PC, Linux); Phone System; Web Services
    • Taxidermist
    • Wild Foods
  • Alternatives IMPACT (formerly Alternatives Venture Fund): Board of Directors 2000-present.
    • Alternatives IMPACT is a 501(c)3 whose mission is in alignment with that of Alternatives Credit Union "to serve the underserved". As a public charity, IMPACT can receive funds to pilot programs to serve members of the community in ways that are outside the charter of the Credit Union. Many of these push the envelope of financial services into territory which is found to be profitable despite traditional attitudes. Many ideas developed at Alternatives have since become standard practice. Examples range from adjustable rate mortgages with caps on the rate changes, developed during the Savings and Loan Crisis in the '80s, to strategies for developing and building Credit , to current (2019) projects in character-based lending for small business loans.
  • Alternatives Federal Credit Union: Supervisory Committee 1983-1985
  • Alternatives Federal Credit Union: Board of Directors 1987-1989, President, 1988.
  • First Street Playhouse Actor and Board Member early 1980's
  • Ithaca Cooperative Nursery School Active parent and Board Member late 1980's
  • Fall Creek Elementary School PTA late 1980's early 1990's Active member. Produced Newsletter using Quark XPress with input from writers using assorted word processing programs and portable computers.

Entrepreneurial Efforts

  • Microcomputer Power: Provides specialty software for data analysis in Ecology, since 1987.
  • Ithaca Laminating: Provided thermal plastic laminating services on paper. Batch service, since superceded by offerings from Kinko's and others. No longer in business.
  • Time and Temperature: (607) 277-2772 1980 until discontinued in 2008


  • Teaching Associate: or assorted other monikers Cornell University 1981-present
More... Close
8/21/80-5/27/81 Lecturer (50%) who
1/8/81-5/27/81 LSC & Math Teaching Associate (25%) AND Math MSC Lecturer (25%) who
8/20/81-1/6/82 Teaching Associate (50%) AND Lecturer (17.5%) who
1/7/82-5-26/82 Teaching Associate (50%) AND Lecturer (17.5%) who
8/19/82-1/5/83 Teaching Associate (25%) AND Lecturer (25%) AND (E&S) Teaching Associate (50%) who
1/6/83-5/25/83 Teaching Associate (50%) AND Lecturer (35%) who
8/18/83-5/23/84 Teaching Associate (100%) who
8/16/84-5/22/85 Teaching Associate (75%) who
8/15/85-1/1/86 Teaching Associate (100%) who
1/2/86-6/30/86 Teaching Associate (75%) who
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5/16/91-8/7/91 Visiting Fellow (75%) who
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  • Graduate Teaching Assistant: Cornell University. 1977-1980.
    • Mathematics and some Ecology courses.
  • Scientific Drawing: Summer of '75. Denver, Colorado.
    • Pen and Ink drawing of charts and graphs for publication.
  • National Park Service: Summer 1973. Field Assistant. Seward Peninsula and South slope of the Brooks Range.
    • Chukchi-Imuruk Biological Survey
    • Kobuk Dunes Survey.
  • Bureau of Industrial Wastes, City of Cleveland: Summer '69.
    • Performed various tests of water chemistry using Standard Methods.
    • Tests included COD, BOD, Coliform Count, Lipids, Dissolved Solids, Ash, Dissolved Oxygen, Nitrates, Nitrites.

Honors and Awards

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship: 3 years, 2 at University of Alaska 1973-75, 1 at Cornell 1976-77
  • National Merit Scholar
  • Early Acceptance, Cornell University: Admitted to Cornell University from Junior Year in High School

Continuing Education

  • Independent Studies: Computer, Networks, Security, CGI, programming and scripting tweaks.
  • Blackboard training:
  • MacHack: 1996-2004
  • Actor's Workshop of Ithaca Meisner Training Full six Semester Course plus a production Class
    • First Semester: Repetition Exercise
    • Second Semester: Emotional Preparation
    • Third Semester: Character Work
    • Fourth Semester: External Circumstances, Relationships, Intentions
    • Fifth Semester: Script Analysis and Monologues
    • Sixth Semester: Monologues
    • Production Class: Is He Dead -- a new comedy by Mark Twain, adapted by David Ives. Played roles of Basil Thorpe, Charlie, Emperor of Russia
    • Actor's Workshop of Ithaca Theater Company Production: Poona the F--k Dog, and other Plays for Children by Jeff Goode Played Roles of Citizen and MaitreD Frog.

Ph.D. Work

Language Studies

  • German: '75-'76
    • 6 months intensive language study at the Goethe Instute, Staufen im Breisgau, Germany.
      • Grundstufe I
      • Grundstufe II
      • Mittelstufe
    • Gasthoerer at University of Goettingen, Spring term, 1976
      • Ecology
      • Paleoecology
      • Phytosociology
      • Spectral and Harmonic Analysis
  • Russian: 1 year undergraduate study.
  • Latin: Grades 7-11
  • French: Grades 4-5

Master's Degree Work

Undergraduate Education

  • Advisor: Peter L. Marks.
    • Set up his lab to perform Chemical Oxygen Demand Analysis on water samples from Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.
    • Performed such analyses for several years.
  • Undergraduate Honors Thesis: Toward a General Theory of Species Diversity
  • BA Cum Laude in Biology with distinction in all subjects Cornell University 1973

Early Years

  • Assistant to Taxidermist, Cleveland Museum of Natural History: as teenager, helped prepare mounts as well as developed improved methods for skull preparation and dry preservation of soft-bodied insect larvae.
  • Animal Caretaker, Cleveland Museum of Natural History: as teenager.
  • Northwestern School of Taxidermy: Taxidermy correspondence course.
  • Future Scientists Program Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Plant Project Grade 4

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size DateSorted ascending Who Comment
PDFpdf Furnas_R_1973_Toward_a_General_Theory_of_Species_Diversity_Cornell_Honors_Thesis.pdf r1 manage 26532.7 K 2015-05-31 - 16:43 DickFurnas Furnas R (1973) Toward a General Theory of Species Diversity
PDFpdf Furnas_R_1980_A_Resource_Theory_of_Self-Thinning_PhD_Thesis.pdf r1 manage 15464.6 K 2015-05-31 - 16:51 DickFurnas Furnas R (1980) A Resource Theory of Self-Thinning
PDFpdf Furnas_R_1975_A_Comparison_of_Sampling_Methods_for_Percent_Cover_in_Tundra_Vegetation_AND_A_Cluster_Analysis_of_Satellite_ERTS_Data_2015_06_03_07_43_16.pdf r1 manage 8168.0 K 2015-06-03 - 12:09 DickFurnas Furnas R 1975 A Comparison of Sampling Methods for Percent Cover in Tundra Vegetation AND A Cluster Analysis of Satellite (ERTS) Data

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