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Suggested Citation:"Research Institutes." National Research Council. 1970. The Life Sciences: Recent Progress and Application to Human Affairs The World of Biological Research Requirements for the Future. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9575.
Page 275

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THE WORLD OF BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH 275 RESEARCH INSTITUTES The preceding survey of the major parameters of the world of biological research fails to convey the myriad arrangements for both research and education in biology. It ignores the dozens of small research institutes in which excellent investigators quietly pursue their research, occasionally with profound impact on the conceptual development of biology. The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for Quantitative Biology has had a brilliant record of achievement, and its summer courses have trained virtually all those who have led the modern development of virus and bacterial genetics, a major segment of molecular biology. Developmental biology and some aspects of neurophysiology have received great stimulus from the research and education programs of marine-biology stations such as that at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Much of the current understanding of neurochemistry and the physiology of the brain has been obtained at small research insti- tutes under private or state auspices, while ecology has grown at a multitude of field stations remote from their parent institutions. NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUMS Natural history museums, with their combinations of scientists, research collections, and field stations are unique non-degree-granting academic insti- tutions for research and graduate training. Quite apart from its role in public education through exhibits, a natural history museum contributes to the acquisition of scientific knowledge in two principal ways. 1. Its staff of scientists may engage in original research in systematic biology, evolutionary biology, ecology, geophysics, astrophysics, ocean- ography, and many other fields of science, depending upon their academic training and scientific interests. While many museum scientists depend on specialized collections in conducting their investigations, an increasing number engage in field and laboratory experimental studies of living organ- isms, or of ecological problems in natural settings. Their collections pro- vide the basis for taxonomic-classification services necessary to many other scientists and also provide a base line for ecological studies. 2. The combination of resident scientists, research collections, and field research facilities provides intellectually attractive settings for visiting scientists. The number of graduate students who receive part or all of their graduate training in natural history museums is impressive and in- creasing.

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