Mary’s Biology Lab

Mary Davidson, Ph.D.
Photo: Ileana Johnson
There were always oddities residing in and escaping from Mary’s large room on the second floor and storage area serving as biology laboratory and classroom. Strange and unpleasant odors and miasmas were wafting down the hallways from Mary’s biology lab, truly a room of curiosities that attracted some and made others flee for fresh air. She had freezers full of dead cats and frogs ready for dissection. When the formaldehyde smell was so overpowering and nauseating at the same time, we knew Mary and her students were preparing for dissection and the critters had been brought out of the freezers. We opened windows to air out the smell but, despite our efforts, the stench became part of our clothes, our skin, and our nostrils for that week. Continue reading

Planned Parenthood or Mengelian Research

In the late 1970s, freshly off the boat of communist misery, I got my first job, assistant to an accountant. I had no idea what accounting was, but I was willing to learn, and was really good at everything math, thanks to my excellent communist education that, aside from Marxist indoctrination, made sure that I learned calculus, algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and statistics. No bizarre common core math. Language and the ability to write a complete sentence with flowery adjectives and descriptive adverbs would come in handy when trying to write a defensive letter to the IRS, excusing a client who had to pay a hefty fine. Continue reading

My Visit to the National Museum of Health and Medicine

The National Museum of Health and Medicine Photo: Ileana Johnson, June 2014

The National Museum of Health and Medicine
Photo: Ileana Johnson, June 2014

Surgeon General William A. Hammond founded the Army Medical Museum in 1862 to “document the effects of war wounds and disease on the human body.” Its staff has conducted pioneering research on infectious diseases, pathology, and medical techniques. Museum researchers “contributed to discovering the cause of yellow fever and developing a vaccination for typhoid fever.” The Army Medical Museum was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark under the Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1935. Continue reading