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Oral History
Sterling H. Emerson Oral History Interview with Harriett Lyle [sound recording]

An interview in three sessions, in March and April 1979, with Sterling Howard Emerson, professor of genetics, emeritus, in the Division of Biology. Dr. Emerson came to Caltech in 1928 as an assistant professor in the division, newly established under Thomas Hunt Morgan. He discusses his youth in Lincoln, Nebraska, and attendance at Cornell (BS, 1922), where his father, horticulturalist Rollins A. Emerson, taught plant genetics. Graduate work at the University of Michigan (PhD 1928). He recalls the early days of genetics after the rediscovery of Mendelism: meeting Columbia geneticists Morgan, A. H. Sturtevant, Calvin Bridges; H. J. Muller at Cold Spring Harbor (summer 1921); recruitment of Caltech’s biologists under Morgan; the Biology Council (1942-1946) running the division after Morgan’s retirement; the advent of George Beadle; his work with the AEC’s Division of Biology and Medicine (1955-1957); Morgan’s relationship with Caltech head R. A. Millikan; interaction with Linus Pauling. Memories of Sturtevant, Frits Went, Ernest Anderson, Robert Emerson, Henry Borsook, Albert Tyler, James Bonner, Norman Horowitz, C. A. G. Wiersma, A. J. Haagen-Smit, Roger Sperry. Discussion of his own work, chiefly on genetic recombination and adaptive changes in Oenothera and Neurospora.

ID: 1979-00009
Emerson, Sterling Howard (Geneticist)

Creation Mar. 31, 1979 through Apr. 6, 1979

MEDIUM: Sound recording; FORMAT: Sound cassette: analog; QUANTITY: 1 set (3 cassettes per set)

Topics: Biology, Genetics

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