NPR special on a certain eccentric pioneering biologist...
February 12, 2011 2:20 PM   Subscribe

Trying to find an NPR program about an eccentric pioneer of genetics who insisted on black laboratories?

I heard a profile of this early geneticist on NPR a few years back... I also thought he famously cultured some chicken tissue. But that sounds like Alexis Carrel, but I can't find any really eccentric beliefs Carrel maintained, or any NPR profiles of the man.
posted by brownbat to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"black laboratories"? Can you perhaps elaborate on which sense of "black" you mean here?
posted by gregglind at 3:07 PM on February 12, 2011

For some reason, I feel like I heard a mention of something like this in the RadioLab piece about Henrietta Lacks. Something about keeping the laboratory completely dark inside... for some reason? I might be making this up and I don't have the time to relisten to the piece, but maybe that's it?
posted by MadamM at 3:22 PM on February 12, 2011

I just finished "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks", by Rebecca Skloot, and her description of Carrel included his belief that cells needed low light to grow, so his labs we painted black, with only minimal light allowed from a skylight. Technicians also worked in black robes that resembled Klan robes in negative. Carrel's Wikipedia page goes into his part in the eugenics movement, so there's that for the eccentricity thing as well. He may also have been mentioned in a Radiolab episode on the science and history of cell culture. Hope this helps.

On preview, what MadamM said as well and more succinctly.
posted by sapere aude at 3:32 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm almost positive it's the RadioLab on Mortality.
posted by you're a kitty! at 5:06 PM on February 12, 2011

Response by poster: I meant he made everyone dress in black lab coats, and the walls were painted black... sorry.
posted by brownbat at 11:36 AM on April 9, 2011

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