Date of this Version
Nathan Augustus Cobb: The Father of Nematology in the United States, by R. N. Huettel and A. M Golden, last modified February 6, 2018. Originally appeared in Annual Review of Phytopathology. 1991. 29: 15-26. Also available at https://www.ars.usda.gov/northeast-area/beltsville-md-barc/beltsville-agricultural-research-center/mycology-and-nematology-genetic-diversity-and-biology-laboratory/docs/docs-nl/nathan-a-cobb/.
Nathan Cobb's Publications, compiled by A. Morgan Golden, and Donna Ellington, January 13, 1997, last modified February 6, 2018. Also available at https://www.ars.usda.gov/northeast-area/beltsville-md-barc/beltsville-agricultural-research-center/mycology-and-nematology-genetic-diversity-and-biology-laboratory/docs/docs-nl/nathan-a-cobbs-publications/.
Nathan Augustus Cobb, referred to as the "Father of Nematology in the United States" (56), was a Renaissance man and a man of humble beginnings. His early life experiences instilled in him the creativity, fortitude, and self reliance that were needed to raise himself alone from age 14, to complete college with little formal pre-college education, receive his Ph.D. in Germany, and go on to found a new discipline of science called "Nematology". His scientific and technical accomplishments were impressive, as indicated by the over 250 first-authored manuscripts he produced during his career. He identified over 1000 species of nematodes, including animal parasitic, plant parasitic, free-living, fresh water, and marine forms. He made many innovative technical contributions to Nematology, including: (a) fixation and preservation methods; (b) the Cobb metal mounting slide; (c) adaptation of photographic equipment, light filters, and improvements in the camera lucida for microscopic use with nematodes; and (d) development of the first flotation device for removing nematodes from soil. A self-taught and gifted artist, his illustrations were of the highest quality. He made great contributions in many other areas of science, such as botany and plant pathology, and to the cotton industry as well.