Stansfield, William D. 1930-

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STANSFIELD, William D. 1930-

PERSONAL: Born February 7, 1930, in Los Angeles, CA; married; children: three. Education: California Polytechnic State College (now University), B.S., 1952, M.A., 1960; University of California—Davis, M.S., 1962, Ph.D., 1963.

ADDRESSES: Home—653 Stanford Dr., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405-1123. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: High school teacher of vocational agriculture in Fortuna, CA, 1958-59; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, faculty member in biological sciences, 1963-92, professor emeritus, 1992—. JBL Scientific (now Promega), technical services representative and consultant, 1998-99. Military service: U.S. Naval Reserve, line officer, 1953-67.

MEMBER: American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Center for Science Education, Sigma Xi.


Schaum's Theory and Problems of Genetics, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1969, 4th edition (with Susan L. Elrod), 2002.

The Science of Evolution, Macmillan Publishing (New York, NY), 1977.

Serology and Immunology: A Clinical Approach, Macmillan Publishing (New York, NY), 1981.

(With Robert C. King) A Dictionary of Genetics, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1985, 6th edition, 2002.

(With Jaime S. Colomé and Raúl J. Cano) Schaum's Outline of Theory and Problems of Molecular and Cell Biology, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1996.

Death of a Rat: Understandings and Appreciations of Science, Prometheus Books (Amherst, NY), 2000.

Contributor to encyclopedias. Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of Heredity.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Research on sheep blood groups, productivity, and reproduction; ovine twinning; Murine genetics and physiology; and Minoxodil and hair growth in mice.

SIDELIGHTS: William D. Stansfield told CA: "The seeds for writing Death of a Rat: Understandings and Appreciations of Science were sown as a consequence of my assignment to teach a graduate course in the history of biology. The book was planned to serve as an example of the kinds of questions and case histories suitable for analyses in such a class. However, I retired before it could be completed for the intended purpose. Then I saw that such a book, with some revisions, might be of great interest and value to a broader audience of inquisitive minds in the general adult population. Critics of our educational system have challenged scientists to come out of their 'ivory towers' of research and academia to educate the general public about the importance of their work to society, how science should be done, and the roles a scientifically literate public can play in the advancement of science, as well as to encourage more youngsters to pursue careers in science. In retirement I decided to complete Death of a Rat as a contribution to those goals. Royalties from the book go to support the work of the National Center for Science Education.

"The subjects treated in Death of a Rat were selected primarily because of their relevance to public concerns about scientific issues such as fetal cell research, animal rights, scientific ethics, creation science, et cetera, and/or because of the innate human interest in stories such as how Mendelian genetics came to be outlawed in the USSR, the hoax of the Piltdown man, the squabble over the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the 'hit list' of laboratories contaminated with the cultured cell line known as HeLa, and the cold fusion fiasco.

"Perhaps the person who provided the greatest inspiration for the writing of Death of a Rat was James Watson in The Double Helix, his book about the discovery of the structure of DNA. Watson had been warned by some of his friends that such a book would be too difficult for non-scientists to understand. How wrong that advice turned out to be! Not just anyone can write authoritatively for the general public as well as Watson has done, but scientists should not be deterred from attempting to do so."



Choice, May, 1998, Leo Miller, review of A Dictionary of Genetics, p. S2; March, 2001, N. Shrimpton, review of Death of a Rat: Understandings and Appreciations of Science, p. 1296.

Journal of Heredity, July-August, 1999, Joseph O. Falkinham III, review of A Dictionary of Genetics, p. 504.

Quarterly Review of Biology, March, 1998, Jules Elias, review of A Dictionary of Genetics, p. 71.

Skeptical Inquirer, January, 2001, Kendrick Frazier, review of Death of a Rat, p. 64.

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Stansfield, William D. 1930-

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