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This Week in Princeton History for October 9-15

In this week’s installment of our ongoing series bringing you the history of Princeton University and its faculty, students, and alumni, a professor wins the Nobel Prize for Medicine, the Princetonian complains about taking lecture notes, and more.

October 10, 1995—Molecular biology professor Eric Wieschaus has won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his genetic research with Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies). Seeming overwhelmed, Wieschaus tells reporters at a press conference, “The knowledge that I can go into a lab and do (experiments) and still have a reasonable success rate—that’s the greater pleasure for me than getting the award. It’s just being a scientist. …You will know something nobody else has ever known before, and that’s a great feeling.”

Eric Wieschaus at a press conference the day after winning the Nobel Prize in Medicine, October 10, 1995. Historical Photograph Collection, Individuals Series (AC067), Box AD15, Folder 52.

October 11, 1985—The American College Health Association (ACHA) meets at Princeton to discuss the implications of AIDS. Despite growing concerns of risk to students among parents, Dean of Students Eugene Lowe ’71 says that Princeton will “take seriously the right of the individual to participate in campus life until evidence about transmission of the disease shows otherwise that it will be harmful for the community.” At this point, no student has yet been diagnosed with HIV.

October 12, 1883—The Princetonian complains that lectures notes are so difficult to take that lecture courses are not as educational as they could be: “the student labors in vain to take down in ordinary writing what would be a task for a good stenographer.”

A student’s lecture notes from George Macloskie’s biology class, 1883. Lecture Notes Collection (AC052), Box 33, Folder 7.

October 15, 1915—A poll of Princeton University faculty shows that a majority support the upcoming October 19 referendum to grant women the right to vote in New Jersey, with a psychology professor asserting that the feminine brain “is in some respects more suited for political responsibility than the masculine…” Nonetheless, the statewide referendum will fail.

For last week’s installment in this series, click here.

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