Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), located in Long Island, New York, is considered by scientists to be one of the most important places for cutting-edge genetics research and for the free exchange of ideas.

"To do good science just goes along with the place," says Eric Lander, professor of biology at MIT and director of the Whitehead Institute's Center for Genomic Research. "Cold Spring Harbor is the mother lode, it's the source. It's the home for all of us in the field. People hold scientific meetings all over the place. But when scientists want to talk to scientists—when you want to talk to the people who really care about the field in a sense—you come to Cold Spring Harbor, the home of DNA, the home of molecular biology."

Meetings are the lifeblood of Cold Spring Harbor, bringing 5,000 scientists to the institution each year. But scientists visiting the lab also look forward to exchanging ideas and information informally.

"That’s a feature of being a small institute where there is just one dining hall and one bar—people do talk to each other," says CSHL neuroscientist Tim Tully. "But that’s not apart from meetings that are open to others from all over the world. In all of these meetings there is always a strong series of seminars given within the institutions. I should think at Cold Spring Harbor there are maybe ten seminars each week given by the individual research groups themselves, or perhaps they have outside speakers. . . . Communication is an absolutely key element in all science."


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