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ELIOT STELLAR November I, I 9 ~ 9-October I 2, ~ 993 BY JAY SCHULKIN ONE OF THE FOUNDERS of what we now call behavioral neuroscience cliec! recently. Eliot Stellar was seventy- three years oIc! at the time of his cleath en c! was university professor of physiological psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a former editor of The Journal of Com- parative and Physiological Psychology, the precursor of behav- ioral neuroscience. During that time the journal grew in stature as the fielc! rapicITy expanclecI. He lee! the journal as he clic! most things, fairly en c! with catholic sensibilities. He championec! incliviclual initiative en c! expanclec! the possi- bilities for others to be included in physiological psychol- ogy. As editor en c! as an incliviclual, he clemonstratec! the art of inclusion: namely, he brought diverse inclivicluals to participate in the inquiry of the role of the brain and be- havior. In our lifetimes most of us meet few truly great people. Eliot Stellar was for me, en c! many others, one of them. His particular genius was to nurture both scientific excellence and humane expression. In fact, Eliot Stellar is the para- digmatic example of the statesman-scientist. His example inspirer! others as they trier! to pursue science. The great- ness of Eliot Stellar is that he nurtured the science that 315
316 B I O G RA P H I C A L EMOIRS one was pursuing, and, perhaps more importantly, he bol- sterec! the life that one ought to be living. Who was Eliot Stellar? Eliot was born en c! raiser! in Bos- ton. He attenclec! the Boston Latin School en c! Harvarc! College. At Harvarc! he heart! lectures by Karl LashIey en c! the philosopher Alfrec! North WhiteheacI. At Harvarc! he began his inquiry into relationships between the brain en c! behavior. Clifforc! Morgan was at Harvarc! at the time, en c! Eliot began to work with him. This culminates! in a paper on symbolic representation in the rat en c! the role of the neocortex ~ ~ 942) . Eliot Stellar then attenclec! Brown University en c! receiver! his acivancec! degrees in psychology, uncler the tutelage of Professor Hunt. From Hunt, Eliot's interest in motivation was engenclerecI. This interest in motivation was lifelong for him. After a stint in the Army cluring the war, Eliot took a position at Johns Hopkins as an assistant professor of psy- chology. CTifforc! Morgan was chairman of the department en c! was instrumental in hiring Eliot. During this perioc! the two of them worker! on the seconc! eclition of Physiolog~- cal Psychology (1950~. It raclically extenclec! en c! improver! on Morgan's first eclition en c! became the main text in physi- ological psychology for the next twenty-five years. Of Eliot's many students during his Johns Hopkins years, three stanc! out. One is Robert MacCleary, the seconc! is Philip Teitelbaum, en c! the thirc! is Alan Epstein. It was a great perioc! for Eliot ant! for physiological psychology. MacCleary's thesis was on the role of specific hungers en c! the clifferential contribution of taste en c! postingestive mecha- nisms in determining ingestion. Stellar en c! Phil Teitelbaum's work was on the lateral hypothalamic syndrome en c! recov- ery of function from this brain damage (1954~. Alan Epstein, an undergraduate in Eliot's laboratory, worked on the prob
ELIOT STELLAR 317 lem of soclium appetite. He en c! Stellar clemonstratec! (1955) that the appetite for sodium was innate. a Aniline that Curt Richter also hac! postulatecI. Richter was also at Hopkins, having founclec! the first laboratory in psychobiology in this country there. Richter's influence on Eliot Stellar was enormous. Richter never re- ally hac! any students en c! worker! largely alone. But Eliot quickly saw that Richter's concerns were on a continuum with his own namely, the way in which behavior servec! in the regulation of the internal milieu. The appetite for so- clium was an example of how behavior servec! to regulate the neecis of the belly. Both Richter en c! Stellar wan tee! to know how the brain servec! to initiate en c! integrate behav- ioral responses that servec! the bocly. For Eliot Stellar the biological basis of motivates! behavior was pervasive en c! amenable to stucly, basic drives for minerals, water, or the sexier one namely, the motivation for sex servec! as moclel systems in which to stucly how the brain proclucec! moti- vatec! behavior to serve bocliTy neecis. Eliot StelIar's classic paper was titled "The Physiology of Motivation" (1954~. It was a seminal work that clominatec! the field! for over thirty years, integrating what was known about hypothalamic function in regulating basic cirives like hunger en c! sex into a moclel of brain function. It orientec! basic research to a tremendous degree en c! is now notes! as one of the most cited papers in psychology. But Eliot clic! not align himself with the tradition of el- egant and rigorous experimental design that was emerging from psychology. The tradition of Richter and Stellar is less about design en c! more about biology. While the experi- ments were perhaps less elegant, they were tint! to real- worIc! events. Statistics were never the determining factor, large phenomena serving biological ends were. Eliot Stellar was also an inventor, having macle an impor
318 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS ten t contribution to stereotaxic surgery with the introcluc- tion of his stereotaxic apparatus. It was a simple innovation of a technique that macle a major difference in the fielcI. His early work with Hill on the lick rates of rats was about how the hardware of systems worker! (1952~: How many licks conic! the rat generate? When clic! it clecline? How cloes motivation for thirst interact with it? These were Eliot's questions. Eliot mover! to the University of Pennsylvania (1954) un- cler unfortunate circumstances. He was toic! that the De- partment of Psychology at Hopkins conic! not house both him en c! Clifforc! Morgan, so he began to look arounc! for another job. At that time Penn was in the micist of recruit- ing faculty for something branc! new the Institute of Neu- rological Sciences. Lewis FIexner was the chairman of Anatomy at Penn en c! the director of the institute. After a few minutes of conversation, he hirer! Eliot as the behav- ioral person in the group. At that time one conic! still clo that. Thus began a wonclerful perioc! for Eliot en c! for the University of Pennsylvania. Within a short period, the Insti- tute of Neurological Sciences en c! the Department of Anatomy came to house very special scientists who worker! well with one another in the new fielc! (e.g., Bill Chambers, John Liu, Jim Sprague) that we now call neuroscience. Interest- ing work on memory en c! attention appearec! within a short time ~961,2, ~963). The inquiry was oriented to what we now call behavioral neuroscience. Each was recluctionistic but without reclucing behavior from the purview of what was to be explainecI. Behavior was one level of analysis among others, such as anatomy and physiology. Eliot's role was as the "behaviorist." Of course, he was no behaviorist, either in Hull's or Skinner's sense. What they meant was that his focus was on behavior, on how the brain regulatec! it, en c! how behavior influencec! the brain.
ELIOT STELLAR 319 Eliot hac! a number of students in behavioral neuroscience at Penn (e.g., Douglas Mook, who went on to the University of Virginia, John Corbitt to Brown University). It is not surprising that an aware! in behavioral neuroscience namer! for Eliot Stellar was establishec! at Penn for the best thesis in behavioral neuroscience. Eliot's role at the University of Pennsylvania was a large one. At one point he was heat! of the Institute of Neuro- logical Sciences, provost of the university, en c! then at the enc! of his life chairman of the Department of Anatomy. He helpec! cultivate the Department of Psychology into one of the best departments in America en c! with a strong biopsychol- ogy group. He also initiates! a number of eclucational programs at the university. They included the University Scholars Program, Biological Basis of Behavior Major, en c! scholarship programs that reacher! out to universities in Europe, Asia, en c! the MicicIle East. Students en c! scholars were both coming to Penn uncler Eliot's encouragement or going to some place. His sense of scholarship en c! science was one that knew no borclers. The programs of scholar- ship that he establishec! at Penn reflected! this fact. An c! they always hac! one important property, they reacher! out to people Eliot in his elegant manner ran a number of seminars. One that he helpec! run for almost forty years at the univer- sity was something he caller! the "fouling seminar." It was founclec! by Eliot en c! Mickey Stunkarc! in the micI-1950s en c! is still going on. It brings together a broac! base of scholars to discuss over lunch the mechanisms of ingestive behavior. Eliot hac! great colleagues that championec! behavioral neuroscience at Penn. They incluclec! Vincent Dethier, who also taught at Penn, Princeton, and the University of Massa- chusetts at Amherst. He cliec! several weeks before Eliot at age seventy-eight. They wrote a book ~ ~ 961~ together that
320 B I O G RA P H I C A L EMOIRS represented a comparative approach to behavioral neuro- science. I can remember the debates between Eliot Stellar en c! Vince Dethier about whether the concept of motiva- tion was necessary in the explanation of behavior. If there was a concept that Eliot thought necessary in the explana- tion of behavior it was that of motivates! behavior. Motiva- tion was a central state for Eliot in the sense in which Karl LashIey, his teacher, hac! envisionec! it. Eliot Stellar clic! not publish many papers, but what he clic! publish macle a profounc! difference. With his son, Jim Stellar, now a clean at Northeastern University, he wrote a book titles! The Neurobiology of Reward and Punishment ( 1985 ) . As I have inclicatecI, beyonc! his academic en c! aciministra- tive roles, Eliot hac! a wonclerful way with people en c! a capacity to nurture inquiry en c! scientific cooperation. Some- one working with me on a program project grant from the National Institute of Mental Health asker! what Eliot Stellar wouIc! contribute. The answer I think is that he civilizer! us. Eliot was always the impetus for the team spirit in inquiry. That was one of his gifts. He lover! to see inquiry thrive. At the end, he was busy on two major fronts one as heat! of the Committee on Human Rights at the National Academy of Sciences. Earlier he hac! worker! for the Com- mittee on the Ethics of Meclical Research in Washington, en c! his interest in human rights was a Tong-stancling one. He prizes! his work on this committee. They laborer! to free other scientists abuser! en c! in prison arounc! the worIcI. This work en c! the boncis of the community of scientists were major themes in Eliot's life. Scientists form a commu- nity, en c! this community neecis to bone! together. After all, both rights en c! inquiry were former! cluring the scientific enlightenment perioc! in culture. The other activity was as president of the American Philo- sophical Society, the oiclest intellectual society in America.
ELIOT STELLAR 32 It was founclec! by Benjamin Franklin en c! is clevotec! to what Franklin caller! "practical philosophy." Eliot lover! the work at the society. It was, after all, what his life was cle- votec! to the expression en c! cultivation of inquiry, the bring- ing together of people to pursue that noble end. Eliot Stellar servec! the community of inquirers in so many ways. An c! he was a political man, not just because of the work he clic! at the University of Pennsylvania but also that of the boards he was on. He cultivates! science at the Na- tional Institutes of Health, en c! he was on the boars! of foundations that he helpec! orient to behavioral neuro- science the MacArthur en c! Whitehall foundations. Let me enc! with several personal notes. As a graduate student en c! still in the philosophy department, I came to see Eliot Stellar on the acivice of Paul Rozin, who then was chairman of the psychology department. I was not sure where I fit in the intellectual arena at that time. Eliot hac! the gift to lift the spirits of those arounc! him. I walker! out of his office feeling that, despite the fact that I clic! not clovetaiT nicely uncler the rubric of any department, it was legitimate to pursue inquiry, and he backed me then and right up until he cliecI. I was Eliot StelIar's last student. I worker! with him, pub- lished one paper with him (1985), and we were faculty mem- bers in the same department over a number of years. I went to Penn because my science teacher (George Wolf) toIc! me as a unclergracluate to go there because Eliot Stellar, he thought, wouic! appreciate me. He clicI. How lucky I was. Eliot's large imprint is on the people he cultivates! en c! his work for the community. A worIc! without Eliot Stellar is a woric! with one less smiling face.
322 B I O G RA P H I C A L S E L E C T E D EMOIRS B I B L I O G RAP H Y 1942 With C. T. Morgan and M. Yarosh. Cortical localization of symbolic processes in the rat. 7. Comp. Physiol. Psychol. 34:107-26. 1950 With C. Morgan. Physiological Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill. 1952 With J. H. Hill. The rat's licking rate of drinking as a function of water deprivation. 7. Comp. Physiol. Psychol. 45:96-102. 1954 The physiology of motivation. Psychol. Rev. 61 :5-22. With P. Teitelbaum. Recovery from the failure to eat produced by hypothalamic lesions. Science 10:894-95. 1955 With A. N. Epstein. The control of salt preference in the adrenal- ectomized rat. 7. Comp. Physiol. Psychol. 48:167-72. 1961 With V. G. Dethier. Animal Behavior. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice- Hall. With J. M. Sprague and W. W. Chamber. Attentive, affective and adaptive behavior in the cat. Science 133:165-73. 1963 With J. B. Flexner and L. B. Flexner. Memory in mice as affected by intracerebral puromycin. Science 141 :57-59. 1985 With J. Schulkin and P. Arnell. Running to the taste of salt in min- eralocorticoid treated rates. Horm. Behav. 19:413-25. With J. R. Stellar. The Neurobiology of Motivation and Reward. New York: Springer-Verlag.