By Jane Maienschein
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Additional info for 100 years exploring life, 1888-1988: the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole
During this summer of 1873, and the next when he returned to Penikese as an advanced student under Agassiz's son Alexander (who took over the school for one year after Louis suddenly died), Whitman decided to become a professional biologist. That meant he would have to go to Europe to pursue a doctoral degree, with all the resulting difficulties for one from a "sober and pious" but definitely not wealthy family from Maine. But he had made up his mind, and Whitman was a stubborn and dedicated man.
The biographical history of that personality is the subject of Professor Maienschein's volume. While everyone who has spent any time at the MBL agrees it is unique, it is not so easy to capture and characterize that uniqueness for others. Some have emphasized the intellectual atmosphere, the constant interest and attention to science, and the thirty-five or more Nobel laureates who have at one time or another been directly associated with the institution. " Still others have emphasized its social and sociological side, the fact that the MBL has nurtured the creative development of countless biologists in this country and abroad over the century, and that many people's affiliations later in life came from contacts they made with colleagues at the MBL as students or young investigators.
The Nobel laureates are there, as they should be. So, too, are the directors, trustees and others who have given special parts of their lives to guiding and managing the institution. But it is the working scientists and support staff-the collecting crews, the technicians, even the doyens of the Mess Hall-whose story Professor Maienschein paints with such clarity and humor. The work-a-day activities of people from every facet of MBL life occupy the main focus of Professor Maienschein's attentions.