Encyclopedia Brunoniana

Banta, Arthur M.

Arthur Mangun Banta (1877-1946), professor of biology, was born in Greenwood, Indiana, on December 31, 1877. After receiving a bachelor of science degree from Central Normal College in Danville, Indiana, in 1898, he earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1903 and a master of arts degree in 1904 at the University of Indiana, where he began his work under Carl Eigenmann, investigating fauna of a local cave. After receiving his Ph.D. degree from Harvard in 1907, he became professor of biology at Marietta College. Beginning in 1909, he conducted research at the Cold Spring Harbor (Long Island) Station for Experimental Evolution of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. He came to Brown in 1929 as visiting professor of biology and was named research professor the following year. In 1939 the Carnegie Institution published Banta’s Studies on the Physiology, Genetics and Evolution of some Cladocera (water flea), which he had researched at Cold Spring Harbor and completed at Brown after a temporary setback when two suitcases which contained the results of five years of his research were stolen from his locked car in New York City. His life work was to be one subject, the influence of the environment on the development of inherited characteristics of animals. He retired from teaching in June of 1945, with the intention of concluding some of his investigations, but died on January 2, 1946, his great work still unfulfilled.