Charles W Woodworth and Drosophila


The answer to your first two questions are: 1) Drosophila is the generic term for fruit fly and 2) What does Charles W Woodworth have to do with fruit flies? Continue reading to find the answer and more about Charles W Woodworth.
  Charles William Woodworth was born in Champaign, Illinois, on April 28,1865. He was the son of Alvin Oakley and Mary Celina Carpenter Woodworth, from the Walter, Benjamin, Caleb, Gershom, Caleb, Caleb, line. To complicate his family line: he was the son of his father's third wife, and after his father died when he was four years old, his mother married one of her brother-in-law's who became his third wife. Charles was raised by his uncle Stephen Elias Woodworth and his mother in a household with one brother, two half sisters, two half brothers and four first cousins. Charles attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in 1885 and a Master of Science in 1886. For two years after graduation, Charles studied entomology at Harvard University. In 1888 he was appointed entomologist and botanist at the University of Arkansas' Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. While there he met Leonora Stern, whom he married on September 4 of 1889 in her parent's home town of Rolla Missouri. On June 8 of 1890, Charles and Leonora had their first child. They named him Lawrence Ariel Woodworth.

 Because he was suffering from several bouts of malaria while living in Arkansas, Charles accepted the position of assistant professor in entomology at the University of California in Berkeley. In 1891, his family settled in the San Francisco-Oakland area. During his career at Berkeley which lasted until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1930, Charles was instrumental in creating the Division of Entomology. Eventually the Division developed into the current Entomology Department.

 During his tenure at Berkeley, he took various sabbaticals. Most notably, he took one at Harvard University in 1901. During his stay in Cambridge Massachusetts his daughter Mary Elizabeth was born. While at Harvard University, Charles suggested to entomologist William E Castle that he use Drosophila for his genetic work. Castle and his associates started using fruit flies for their work on the effects of inbreeding. This suggestion resulted in Thomas Hunt Morgan receiving the Nobel Prize by using fruit flies for his experiments and studies on the determination of precise behavior and exact location of genes. Morgan's biographer credits Charles with this idea.

 Charles took another notable sabbatical in Nanking China, where he effected a practical control of mosquitoes in 1918. He return to China and organized the Kiangsu Provincial Bureau of Entomology This occured between 1921 and 1924.

 Besides teaching, Charles also helped draft the first California Insecticide Law in 1906 which was passed in 1911, he helped in the campaigns to control codling moths, peach twig-borers, citrus insects, grasshoppers and citrus white flies. He also published extensively in nearly every field of entomology. Along with his interest in entomology, Charles was an inventor, an expert in optics, a naturalist and physicist and made notable contributions in the manufacture and use of many of the insecticides we use today. Charles died on November 19,1940 in Berkeley CA.

 Charles and Leonora had four children: Lawrence Ariel (1890-1949) who worked as a mining engineer for Standard Oil, Harold Evans (1894-1971) who was a horticulturist/farmer, Dr. Charles Edward (1897-1966) also a noted entomologist and Mary Elizabeth Plass (1901-1980). They also had two granddaughters, one adopted grandson and one great grandson.

The information for this story was found mostly on, Wikipedia and Jeanette Behan's Woodworth Family in America, vol. 1 and the unpublished 6th generation by Jeanette Behan.