By W. Andrew Achenbaum

Gerontology didn't become a systematic box of inquiry within the usa until eventually the 20 th century. through tracing highbrow networks and interpreting institutional styles, Crossing Frontiers indicates how outdated age turned a "problem" worthy investigating and the way a multidisciplinary orientation took form. Gerontology continues to be a marginal highbrow company, yet its very strengths and weaknesses remove darkness from the politics of specialization and educational turf-fighting in U.S. greater schooling.

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He suffered from failing eyesight and depression. Metchnikoff twice tried to commit suicide, once after the death of hisfirstwife. 10 Metchnikoff, Nature, p. 204; Cole, Journey of Life, pp. 187, 190. I also benefited from Cole's comments on an earlier version of this chapter. 11 This 1871 statement is quoted in Tauber and Chernyak, Metchnikoff, p. 85; Leon Chernyak and Alfred I. Tauber, "The Idea of Immunity," Journal of the History of Biology, vol. 23 (Summer 1990): 220-32, 239nn6. " For the next twenty-five years Metchnikoff refined and defended his theory that phagocytes (leukocytes, or white corpuscles as they are known in humans) were the first line of defense against acute infection.

Paul Ehrlich's 1897 paper outlining a side-chain theory of antibody formation inspired countless quantitative studies of antigen-antibody reactions. Thereafter, molecular chemists, rather than biologists or pathologists, were judged to be at the vanguard of immunological research. ) Although his contemporaries were questioning the utility of his phagocytic theory in immunology, Metchnikoff believed that his conceptual framework still had wider relevance across several domains of biology and medicine.

What other questions were they investigating, what other theories were they evaluating? If they did not or could not channel Metchnikoff's ideas into their activities, what does this tell us about their priorities? These questions lead to a third reason for beginning with Metchnikoff: Reactions to his ideas serve to gauge popular ideas about senescence at the turn of the century. Were his opinions about prolongevity quickly accepted? Did the socioeconomic dimensions of later years attract as much attention to its physical capacity and clerical features?

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