Hartline was awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine in 1967. Much of the details of his life, personal and professional, have been omitted here. I’ve not mentioned his wife or children, his interest in Astronomy, his failed attempt to be a Physicist. Here I’ve highlighted two important discoveries, both explored within the lateral eye of Limulus, both done in conjunction with research conducted at the MBL, and both happy accidents. These stories of Hartline should do more than teach us a little bit about vision: they should teach us a little bit about the process and progress of science. Surely a scientist must be driven, must be educated, must have access to marvelous facilities: but we should never forget the elements of chance and luck which permeate our lives, scientific or otherwise. Hartline’s genius was largely in taking advantage of his luck: his lucky access to experimental animals, his lucky access to a vibrant community of scientists at the MBL, his dumb luck in using adult Limulus to study single nerve action potentials, and the lucky chance that brought a careless co-worker into a dark room to turned on the lights.
Note: There is no science without a scientist, and so the author has attempted to maintain the essential truth of that—namely that at each stage of the scientific process there is a person looking at evidence and making judgments. However there is almost no personal biography, and much of the professional biography of each author has been abridged dramatically. In spite of this, the reader should keep in mind that each of these individuals were complicated people who share at least a job description. George Wald once said, “A scientist should be the happiest of men. Not that science isn't serious; but as everyone knows, being serious is one way of being happy, just as being gay is one way of being unhappy”. Each of these individuals had a scientific ethic, as well as a body of scientific work, and where possible, the author of each section has attempted to not forget the romanticism of the spirit of investigation, or the fact that many of these people were excited by a simple truth—after all, they were seeing things no one else had seen before. That majesty can be easy to forget if you are an outsider new to the complexities of visual physiology, but these scientists never forgot it.
Universalizing Photochemical Theories of Vision: Hecht, Wald, and the Marine Biological Laboratory
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- Hecht, Selig. "Intensity and the process of photoreception." Journal of General Physiology 2 (1919/1920): 337-347.
- Hecht, Selig. "Rods, cones, and the chemical basis of vision." Physiological Review 17 (1937): 239-290.
- Hecht, Selig. "The dark adaptation of the human eye." Journal of General Physiology 2 (1919/1920): 499-517.
- Hecht, Selig. "The nature of foveal dark adaptation." Journal of General Physiology 4 (1921/1922): 113-139.
- Hecht, Selig. "The photochemical nature of the photosensory process." Journal of General Physiology, 2 (1919/1920): 229-246.
- Hecht, Selig, C. Haig, and George Wald. "The dark adaptation of retinal fields of different size and location." Journal of General Physiology 19 (1935/1936): 321-337.
- Helmholtz, Hermann von. Handbuch der Physiologischen Optik (handbook of physiological optics. Leipzig: Voss, 1867.
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- Müller, George Ellias. "Über die Farbenempfindungen (about color sensations)." Zeitschrift für Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane (journal of psychology and physiology of the sense organs) Ergänzungsband (supplement) (1930): 1-434.
- Müller, George Ellias. "Zur Psychophysik der Gesichtsempfindungen (Towards a psychophysics of visual sensations)." Zeitschrift für Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane (Journal of psychology and physiology of the sense organs, 1896: 321-413.
- Marr, David. Vision. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman and Company , 1982.
- Schultze, Max Johann Sigismund. "Zur Anatomie und Physiologie der Retina (The Anatomy and Physiology of the Retina)." Archiv für mikroskopische Anatomie (Archive for microscopic anatomy). 2 (1866): 175-286.
- Stabell, Bjørn, and Ulf Stabell. Duplicity Theory of Vision. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
- Wald, George. "Selig Hecht 1892-1947." National Academy of Science, 1991.
- Wald, George. "The molecular basis of visual excitation." Nobel Lecture, December 1967.
- Wald, George. "The photochemistry of vision." Documenta Ophthalmologica 3 (1949): 94-137.
- Wald, George. "The porphyropsin visual system." Journal of General Physiology 22 (1938/1939): 775-794.
- Wald, George. "Visual purple system in fresh-water fishes." Nature 139 (1937): 1017-1018.
- Wald, George. "Vitamin A in the retina." Nature, no. 132 (1933): 316-317.
- Wald, George. "On the mechanism of the visual threshold and visual adaptation." Science 119 (1954): 887-892.
- Young, Thomas. "The Bakerian Lecture: On the theory of light and colours." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 92 (1802): 12-48.
Haldan Keffer Hartline, a Prize, and Two Accidents
- Bang, Frederick. "A bacterial disease of limulus polyphemus." The Marine Biological Laboratories, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and the Department of Pathobiology, School of Hygiene and Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, 1955.
- Barlow, Robert. "From string galvanometer to computer: Haldan Keffer Hartline (1903–1983)." Trends in Neuroscience 9 (1986).
- Graham, C.H., and Haldan Keffer Hartline. "The response of single visual sense cells to lights of different wave lengths." Journal of General Physiology, 1935: 917-931.
- Grant, R, and F Ratliff. "Haldan Keffer Hartline." Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society (The Royal Society) 31 (Nov 1985): 262-292.
- Hartline, Haldan Keffer. "Influence of light of very low intensity on phototropic reactions of animals." Journal of General Physiology 6, no. 2 (1923): 137-152.
- Hartline, Haldan Keffer. "Inhbition in the eye of limulus." Journal of General Physiology 39, no. 5 (1956).
- Hartline, Haldan Keffer. "intensity and duration in the excitation of single photoreceptor units." Journal of Cellular and Comparative Physiology, 1934: 229-247.
- Hartline, Haldan Keffer. "The dark adaptation of the eye of Limulus, as manifested by its electric response to illumination." Journal of General Physiology 13, no. 3 (1930).
- Hartline, Haldan Keffer. "Visual receptors and the retinal interaction." Nobel Lecture, December 1967.
- Hartline, Haldan Keffer, and Floyd Ratliff. "Inhibitory interaction of receptor units in the eye of Limulus." Journal of General Physiology, 1957: 357-376.
- Hartline, Haldan Keffer, and Floyd Ratliff. "Spatial summation of inhibitory influences in the eye of Limulus, and the mutual interaction of receptor units." Journal of General Physiology, May 1958: 1049-1066.
- Madrigal, Alexis. "The Blood Harvest." The Atlantic, Feb 26, 2014.
- Nobelprize.org. Haldan K. Hartline - Biographical. Nobel Media AB 2014. 1967. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1967/hartline-bio.html (accessed 2015 14, 2015).
- Ratliff, Floyd. "Haldan Keffer Hartline 1903-1983." National Academy of Sciences, 1990.
- Shuster, Carl N, Robert B Barlow, and H Jane Brockmann. The American Horseshoe Crab. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2003.
Roger Hanlon, Universal Camouflage, and Studying Vision at the MBL in the 21st Century
- Allen, J.J., L.M. Mäthger, A. Barbosa, and R.T. Hanlon. "Cuttlefish use visual cues to control 3-dimensional skin papillae for camouflage." Journal of Comparative Physiology, 2009: 547-555.
- Chiaoa, Chuan-Chin, J. Kenneth Wickiser, Justine J. Allen, Brock Genter, and Roger T. Hanlon. "Hyperspectral imaging of cuttlefish camouflage indicates good color match in the eyes of fish predators." PNAS 108, no. 22 (May 2011): 9148-9153.
- Hanlon, Roger. "Cephalopod dynamic camouflage." Current biology , 2007: 400-404.
- Hanlon, Roger. Rapid adaptive camouflage and signaling in cephalopods. PART I: Concepts and questions. Performed by Roger Hanlon. iBiology.org. 2011.
- MBL. Hanlon lab - overview. 2011. http://www.mbl.edu/bell/current-faculty/hanlon/.
- Ulmer, K.M., K.C. Buresch, M.M. Kossodo, L.M. Mäthger, L.A. Siemann, and R.T. Hanlon. " Vertical Visual Features Have a Strong Influence on Cuttlefish Camouflage ." Biological Bulletin 224, no. 2 (2013): 110-118.
- Zimmer, Carl. "Cuttlefish camouflage." New York Times, February 13, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/video/science/1194817111131/cuttlefish-camouflage.html.