ERNEST EVERETT JUST Biography - Famous Scientists


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Dr. Ernest E. Just (1883-1941)                                                           
Ernest Everett Just was a true scholar. He sought to find "truth" using                   
scientific methods and inquiry. Although Dr. Just was bold enough to challenge           
the theories of leading biologists of the 19th and 20th centuries, he was humble         
and unassuming. Dr. Just was passionately driven to understand the world of the           
cell. His tenacity and motivation led him to add to our understanding of the             
process of artificial parthenogenesis and the physiology of cell development.             
Dr. Just was born August 14, 1883 in Charleston, South Carolina. At an early age,         
he demonstrated a gift for academic research. For example, in 1907, he was the           
only person to graduate magna cum laude from Dartmouth College with a degree in           
zoology, special honors in botany and history, and honors in sociology.                   
Immediately after graduation, Dr. Just taught at Howard University where he was           
appointed head of the Department of Zoology in 1912. At Howard, he also served           
as a professor in the medical school and head of the Department of Physiology             
until his death. The first Spingarn Medal was awarded to the reluctant and               
modest Just by the NAACP in 1915 for his accomplishments as a pure scientist. In         
1916, Dr. Just graduated magna cum laude from University of Chicago receiving             
his doctorate in experimental embryology.                                                 
Dr. Just received international acclaim for work he completed during the summers         
from 1909 to 1930 at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole,               
Massachusetts. At MBL, he conducted thousands of experiments studying the                 
fertilization of the marine mammal cell. In 1922, he successfully challenged             
Jaacque Loeb's theory of artificial parthenogenesis, pushing the envelope. Using         
his research conducted at Wood's Hole, he published his first book entitled,             
Basic Methods for Experiments on Eggs of Marine Animals.                                 
Although Dr. Just was considered a leader and authority for his work with cell           
development, as an African American, he experienced racism and prejudice. For             
this reason, Dr. Just decided to study in Europe in 1930. It was in Europe that           
he published his second book, The Biology of the Cell Surface. While in Europe           
in 1938 he published a number of papers and lectured on the topic of cell                 
cytoplasm. Dr. Just died October 27, 1941 in Washington D.C.