The First Everett Mendelsohn Prize

Journal of the History of Biology, Jan 2017

Michael R. Dietrich

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The First Everett Mendelsohn Prize

Journal of the History of Biology The First Everett Mendelsohn Prize MICHAEL R. DIETRICH 0 0 Dartmouth College Hanover , NH USA - Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017 It is my pleasure to announce that Rachel Mason Dentinger’s essay, ‘‘Patterns of Infection and Patterns of Evolution: How a Malaria Parasite Brought ‘‘Monkeys and Man’’ Closer Together in the 1960s’’ 49 (2016), 359–395, has been selected as the first recipient of JHB’s Everett Mendelsohn Prize. All the articles published in JHB from 2014 to 2016 (volumes 47–49) were considered for this first Mendelsohn Prize. The 59 articles under consideration were written by authors from 18 different countries on an amazing array of topics. Each member of the Prize committee, composed of myself, Nick Hopwood, and Lynn Nyhart, reviewed the eligible essays and created a short list of favorites. In the ensuing discussion, Dr. Mason Dentinger’s ‘‘Patterns of Infection and Patterns of Evolution’’ emerged from a formidable pool of essays as our top choice. ‘‘Patterns of Infection and Patterns of Evolution’’ reconstructs the history of G. Robert Coatney’s and Don Eyles’s research on ‘‘monkey malaria’’ in the 1960s. After Eyles unexpectedly contracted malaria from a macaque, this team of American parasitologists launched a series of experiments tracking the travel of malaria parasites across biological, disciplinary, and geographical borders. While parasitology and malaria research are often associated with medicine, Mason Dentinger’s narrative reframes malarial research in evolutionary terms and flips the use of animals as models for humans to demonstrate how humans became models for animal disease. Mason Dentinger marshals an impressive array of primary source research to create a fascinating narrative that speaks to science as it was practiced in biology and medicine, in the United States and Malaysia, and among human experimental subjects in US prisons and among primate research subjects at tropical research MICHAEL R. DIETRICH centers. The result is a rich and powerful historical narrative that is original, illuminating, and engaging. Rachel Mason Dentinger is a scholar-in-residence and an instructor at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She earned her PhD in the History of Science at the University of Minnesota in 2009. Before moving to Utah, Dr. Mason Dentinger was a research fellow at King’s College London where she was involved in a Wellcome Trust project on the interconnections between human and animal disease that supported research for her JHB essay. In addition to her award-winning scholarship, Dr. Mason Dentinger is an award-winning science writer. Her essays for Kew Magazine won her the Garden Media Guild New Talent Award in 2012. On behalf of the Editorial staff at the Journal of the History of Biology and Springer International Publishing, I’m honored to offer our congratulations to Rachel Mason Dentinger. ‘‘Patterns of Infection and Patterns of Evolution’’ is a worthy recipient of the Everett Mendelsohn Prize, and sets a laudable standard for future prize winners. The Everett Mendelsohn Prize is awarded annually to the author of an article that was published during the previous three years in the Journal of the History of Biology. Every article published in the preceding three years will be automatically considered for the Mendelsohn Prize. The Editor-in-Chief and the Associate Editors of JHB act as a committee to award the prize, and judge all entries based on their originality, scholarship, and significance for the history of biology. Each year’s winner is announced in JHB, and receives an honorarium of $500.00.


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Michael R. Dietrich. The First Everett Mendelsohn Prize, Journal of the History of Biology, 2017, 3-4, DOI: 10.1007/s10739-016-9464-5