Thursday, March 20, 2008

David Challinor's obituary

I never met, nor to be honest, had heard of Dr. David Challinor of the Smithsonian before reading his obituary yesterday. These sentences caught my eye:

He also wrote more than 200 " Letters from the Desk of David Challinor" that are in the Smithsonian's digital repository and available online. They address issues such as flu pandemics, tree ecology, bird song accents and dialects, the nature of trust, hydrothermal vents and "good smells and bad."

I read the bird flu article today - it's a good summation. As you can see by downloading some of those World War 1 medical histories that have been linked to here previously, the Army Medical Museum was quite concerned with investigating the 'Spanish flu' in 1918, and specimens preserved then were used by AFIP scientists to genotype that flu in the 1990s, demonstrating one value of a museum collection. You can see the Museum's flu pictures on the main website.

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