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Ernest Everett Just: Zoologist, Biologist, Physiologist, Research Scientist.


Ernest Everett Just
Born: August 14, 1883
Died: October 27, 1941
Birthplace: Charleston, SC

Ernest Everett Just was born in Charleston, South Carolina on August 14, 1883 to parents Charles Frazier and Mary Matthews Just. He prepared for college at Kimball Hall Academy, New Hampshire, where he completed the four-year course of study in only three years. In the graduating Dartmouth College class of 1907, Ernest Just was the only person to be graduated magna cum laude. He won special honors in botany and history, with honors in botany and sociology. In his freshman year at Dartmouth he received the highest marks in the entire freshmen class in Greek; Ernest was conferred as the Rufus Choate scholar for two years. In 1907, Dr. Just began to teach at Howard University. Beginning in 1909, he began to conduct research as a research assistant during the summer months for Professor Frank Rattray Lillie, the second director of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In 1916, Ernest Just received the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy magna cum laude from the University of Chicago in experimental embryology, with a thesis on the mechanics of fertilization.

Contributions on the physiology of development were the legacy of Dr. Just s research. His work on the subjects of fertilization, experimental parthenogenesis, hydration, cell division, dehydration in living cells, the effect of ultra violet rays in increasing chromosome number in animals and in altering the organization of the egg with special reference to polarity.

He was one of the authors of General Cytology, published in 1924. The list of authors includes among other eminent zoologists

  • Dr. Frank R. Lille of the University of Chicago
  • Dr. T.H. Morgan, President of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Dr. M.H. Jacobs, Director of Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
  • Dr. E.G. Conklin of Princeton UniversityIn 1924 Dr. Just was selected from among the biologists of the world by a group of German biologist to contribute to a monograph on fertilization, one of a series of monographs by specialists working on fundamental problems of the function and structure of the cell. He is a contributor to Volume Two of Dr. Jerome Alexander’s three-volume series on Colloid Chemistry. From 1920-1931 Dr. Just was the Julius Rosenwald Fellow in Biology of the National Research Council. Under this grant program he engaged in research as an adjunct researcher of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology, Berlin-Dahlam, working under Professor Max Hartmann department. He also worked at the marine biological laboratories in Naples and in Sicily. In 1930, Dr. Just lectured at the Eleventh International Congress of Zoologists, held at Padua, Italy. The lecture was entitled The Role of Cortical Cytoplasm in Vital Phenomena., which was based on the fifty published papers written by Dr. Ernest Just.In his scholarly work Dr. Just showed all the traits of a true scholar. He was unostentatious and was modest in his personality. His inherent ability, scientific training, creative imagination, and industry were the basis for success in his field of zoology.

    “If we are to judge his accomplishments by standards set up by men of science, it can be said that Dr. Just is an eminent scientist. If we are to judge his value to Negro education by what he has accomplished in the realm of science, it can be said that to Negro youth especially, he demonstrates the possibility of human achievement regardless of race or color. In the language of Dean Kelly Miller in an appreciation of Dr. Just, What boots it that Euclid was a Greek, Newton an Englishman, Marconi an Italian or Guttenburg a German? Their genius has enriched the blood of mankind regardless of place, time, race or nationality.
    George R. Arthur. Ernest Just, Biologist., The Crisis, February 1932, p. 46.

    Dissertation Title: Studies of Fertilization in Platynereis megalops.

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