Introducing: David Munns (New York)

Visiting Scholar at LMU and Deutsches Museum


David P.D. Munns is visiting LMU and Deutsches Museum for several weeks from New York. He has just completed a book, due to be released in May 2017, entitled Engineering the Environment: Phytotrons and the Quest for Climate Control in the Cold War. It is the first history of phytotrons, huge climate-controlled laboratories that enabled plant scientists to experiment on the environmental causes of growth and development of living organisms.

At the LMU he is working on the history of another "tron" for biology, the ALGATRON, in cooperation with Prof. Kärin Nickelsen.

Mug Shot B&W

Startled by NASA’s decision to let orbiting astronauts collect their own feces in a bag for medical experiments as wasteful, a pair of sanitary engineers at Berkeley designed an algae-based technological system to recycle oxygen, water, and even nutrients back to spacefarers trapped in small closed environments travelling among the stars. This article looks at the technological choice facing the emerging space program between the infamous ‘fecal-bag’ and that now-forgotten alternative inevitably called ‘the Algatron.’

He encourages everyone to visit his website to learn more about "trons": www.worldoftrons.com