Tuesday 19 April 2016

Ernest Everett Just, 1883–1941 (African-American biologist, academic, science writer)

* Ernest Everett Just's primary legacy is his recognition of the fundamental role of the cell surface in the development of organisms. In his work within marine biology, cytology and parthenogenesis, he advocated the study of whole cells under normal conditions, rather than simply breaking them apart in a laboratory setting.

Just authored two books, Basic Methods for Experiments on Eggs of Marine Animals (1939) and The Biology of the Cell Surface (1939), and he also published at least seventy papers in the areas of cytology, fertilization and early embryonic development. He discovered what is known as the fast block to polyspermy; he further elucidated the slow block, which had been discovered by Fol in the 1870s; and he showed that the adhesive properties of the cells of the early embryo are surface phenomena exquisitely dependent on developmental stage.

In the fall of 1941, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and died shortly thereafter on 27 October 1941 in Washington D.C., aged 58.


BIRTH DATA: Ernest Everett Just, 14 Aug. 1883, circa 00:15 (12:15am) LMT (+5:19:43), Charleston, South Carolina, USA (32n46, 79w55). ASC: Gemini. RR: B (from biography). SOURCE: Sy Scholfield quotes from Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just by Kenneth R. Manning (Oxford University, 1985), p. 5: "Mary Mathews Just . . . went through an easy delivery a little after midnight on Tuesday morning, 14 August." The source is given as Charleston News and Courier, 14 Aug. 1883, p. 1.

Copyright Sy Scholfield. All rights reserved in all media. Please feel free to share these data and charts with appropriate acknowledgment.

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