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From humble beginnings as a small desert laboratory in Tucson, Arizona, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Carnegie Institution's Department of Plant Biology has evolved into a thriving international center of plant molecular biology that sits today on the campus of Stanford University. In the last hundred years it has witnessed immense changes in biological thinking, and been at the forefront of innovative research. This fourth in a series of five histories of the Carnegie Institution touches on the tangled beginnings of ecology, the baroque complexities of photosynthesis, the great mid-century evolutionary synthesis and the adventurous start of the plant molecular revolution.
1. An outpost in the desert
2. Early years at the desert lab
3. Daniel MacDougal: engineer of life
4. A decade of change
5. Terminations and taperings
6. A mythic collaboration
7. The black box of photosynthesis
8. Years of duty
9. The decade of chlorophyll
10. Defining a new ecology
11. The emerging complexity
12. An integrative approach
13. Common ground
14. The molecular era
"[...] informative and well written."
- Plant Science Bulletin
"The author, a science writer and a former Carnegie Institution editor, provides a narrative spanning a century. She offers insights from a variety of source materials, including archival correspondence and interviews with Carnegie scientists as well as the writings of professional historians of science. She writes well."
- Nancy Slack, The Sage Colleges, Journal of the History of Biology
"The Department of Plant Biology is a solid institutional history. More broadly, it explicates the extent to which American ecologists tied to agricultural and environmental science, and biochemists linked through engineering science to national security, approached a zero-sum game of defining and controlling biology through much of the twentieth century."
- Philip J. Pauly, Isis