The Fly Room began as a dingy closet-like space at Columbia University from 1911 to 1928 run by Thomas Hunt Morgan. It was here that the basic laws that govern heritability and the passing of traits were discovered – work that would eventually win their lab a Nobel Prize in 1933 and formed the foundation of the genetic discoveries that continue today. The men and women behind this groundbreaking work were the pioneers of a new frontier in science, making the rules up as they worked and fostering a democratic atmosphere open to new ideas and unconventional thinking, which became a standard in laboratory research in practice today. There was an almost Rashomon-like aspect to Columbia University’s famous Fly Room in the early 1900s. Overseen by Thomas Hunt Morgan, the atmosphere was described by resident scientist Alfred Sturtevant as “Arcadian” — “what mattered was to get ahead with the work” and there was a democratic and “a give-and-take atmosphere.”Work proceeded quickly in the overheated atmosphere of the Fly Room. Morgan himself explained that “…our proximity to each other led to cooperation in everything that went on.”
Take a tour through the personal lives of the people that were connected to The Fly Room. You’ll discover postcards, photos, and scribbles that give you an inside view into the scientists of The Fly Room and their family.
A Tour Down Memory Lane›