In 1924 Edmund Cowdry published his General Cytology as a collaborative effort of leading biologists who worked together each summer at the MBL. These included such notables as E.B. Wilson, Thomas Hunt Morgan, and Frank Lillie. Cowdry noted that General Cytology was intended as a state of the art textbook and reference “concerning the cell fundamental.” To some extent, the volume represents a watershed in the transformation of cytology into cell biology.
On October 23rd and 24th, 2014 the University of Chicago and Arizona State University will hold a workshop entitled “Updating Cowdry at the MBL” at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The workshop asks “How do we define cell biology in the 21st century?” To answer this question, more than twenty leading cell biologists, historians of biology, and philosophers of biology will convene for presentations and discussions.