Organisms and the Mysterious X: Interdisciplinary Innovation in Experimental Biology
Interdisciplinary interaction was an important factor in the growth of radiation genetics in the early twentieth century. During the three decades after the discovery of X-rays in 1895, physicists had been puzzled by their paradoxical behavior: some experiments demonstrated that X-rays were waves, yet others revealed them as particles. At the same time, geneticists studying heredity were struggling to develop a method which could generate artificially induced mutations in the laboratory, thus ridding them of their reliance on infrequent natural mutations. These seemingly unrelated problems in different disciplines were linked by geneticist Hermann Joseph Muller. At a time when most physicists were still confused over the nature of X-rays, Muller harnessed their properties to create the first artificial mutation and thus spawned a new era in the application of physical techniques in experimental biology.
Jordan, Trace. "Organisms and the Mysterious X: Interdisciplinary Innovation in Experimental Biology." Issues in Integrative Studies 6 (1988): 51-81.
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