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Prevail Through Knowledge: A History of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Prevail Through Knowledge A History of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Author:Jan Witkowski Prevail Through Knowledge: A History of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is published to mark the Laboratory's 125th anniversary. Written by historian Jan Witkowski, Executive Director of the Laboratory's Banbury Center, it's a compact, accessible book that will appeal to friends and neighbors of the Laboratory and anyone interested in the develo... more »pment of biomedical science and biotechnology through the twentieth century to the present day.
At Cold Spring Harbor, two independent research centers born in the light of Darwin's insights emerged fifty years later as a single institution that would cradle another revolution, the new science of molecular biology, and progress to world renown in research and professional education. It's a remarkable story and the path of progress was neither simple nor assured. The book traces half a century of changes in name, leadership, governance, and financial fortune. And scientific missteps, most notoriously in eugenics, as well as solid work in genetics, human metabolism, and cancer.
From the 40's through the 60's, the Laboratory was home to fundamental discoveries about the nature of genetic material and a cauldron of critical assessment of ideas about genes by sharp-tongued summer visitors. A junior member of that group, James Watson would go on to deduce the structure of DNA with Francis Crick in 1953, creating the whole new field of molecular genetics before returning to Cold Spring Harbor as Director fifteen years later. As the book shows, his Bold Plan would inspire, cajole, and goad into existence an era of expansion, new research directions, and initiatives in conferences, courses, publishing, and education that redefined the scope of the Laboratory. Under Bruce Stillman's leadership, that scope has grown still more, making the Laboratory unique among research institutions worldwide - envied, imitated, but not reproduced.
For over a century, it has been influenced by exceptional personalities, outstanding achievements, and occasionally dramatic events. Prevail Through Knowledge captures that history in a lively narrative illuminated by vignettes on the importance of individual scientists and their discoveries. The book is abundantly documented with material from the Laboratory's archives. And it draws on an unpublished account of the Laboratory from its beginnings through the '60s by the distinguished scientist and educator Bentley Glass, a Board of Trustees chairman. His memoir is of research and symposia but also the personal, the idyllic summers in which visiting scientists debated ideas while their inquisitive children roamed the grounds and once turned off the entire institution's water supply.
Jan Witkowski's knowledge of his subject is wide and his affection for it deep. He brings to his task insights that only a decades-long career as a staff member can provide. Anyone who has ever walked on the Laboratory's gorgeous campus - or these days, browsed its website - and thought "I wonder how..?" will find answers in the elegant and entertaining pages of Prevail Through Knowledge.« less