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Scientific Staff The Laboratory has been home to many scientists in fields ranging from genetics to neuroscience to bioinformatics. As a visiting or resident researcher at CSHL, what experiences are your most memorable?

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Old 01-03-2006, 12:53 PM
Alan W. Bernheimer Alan W. Bernheimer is offline
Location: NY, NY
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Default Asa Arthur Schaeffer

Asa Arthur Schaeffer was chairman of the Biology Department of Temple University at the time I was an undergraduate and graduate student there (1931 to 1937). I am forever grateful for his having introduced me to the CSH Biology Laboratory and for making it possible for me to carry on research there for a number of summers while I was a student.
Schaeffer was a protozoologist whose specialty was the taxonomy and "behavioral" characteristics of amoebas. One of his better know publications is entitled "Taxonomy of Amoebas with Descriptions of Thirty-Nine new Species." He spent a great many summers at CSH, beginning roughly about 1900. He told me that around that time, before Blackford was built, investigators had their meals in a discarded railroad car. They presumably were housed in tents. His principal avocation was sailing a small boat, which he himself had built. Some time before I arrived at CSH he purchased a larger sail boat, which he christened NONAME, and decided to auction off the old boat. The highest bid turned out to be $10, a sum contributed jointly by a group of students. They named the boat THE BERIBERI. (At that time, research on vitamins was fashionable.) Wood planks constituting the remains of that boat could still be seen, relatively recently, at low tide in the mud next to the sea wall just east of Jones.
In the time period mentioned, Biolab and the Carnegie Station for Experimental Evolution were both physically and administratively separate. Reginald Harris was director of the former, and Charles B. Davenport, director of the latter. Davenport regrettably was also head of The Eugenics Record Office, which happily was short-lived. Investigators at Carnegie and the Biolab did not get along well but the problem was neatly solved by the appointment (ca. 1940) of Milislav Demerec as director of both institutions. Shortly before the appointment of Demerec, A.A.Schaeffer transferred his allegiance from CSH to the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole. In doing so, he and his son sailed from CSH to MBL in an 18 foot open sailboat (no motor). It took several days, capsizing three times on the way, but finally making it. "All's well that ends well."
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