If you could have practiced science in any time and any place throughout history, which would it be, and why?
That’s what they are asking us this week. And, once again, I’m going to skirt the question. You see, it depends on whether the future counts as a “place throughout history.” Currently, the future is not history, but it will be history once the future becomes the past. You’ll probably need a few minutes to digest that, as I must have just blown your mind. Or not.
My chosen place in time (yeah, I abandoned the whole history thing): the day of the $1000 genome. This is the population geneticist’s dream. All that data for next to nothing in costs. So many hypotheses to test. So many discoveries to make. We ain’t post-genomics until genome sequencing is dirt cheap and accessible to everyone, regardless of their taxon of choice.
If I am restricted to only time periods that are currently considered history, then I’d have to go with Thomas Hunt Morgan‘s lab at Columbia in the 1910s. At that time, Alfred Sturtevant was constructing the first ever genetic map, and the lab was giving birth to the field of genetics.