Record Unit 9582, Rubinoff, Ira. interviewee, Ira Rubinoff Interviews, 1989-1990
Ira Rubinoff (1938- ) received his B.S. from Queens College in 1959. He continued his education at Harvard University, receiving his A.M. in 1961 and Ph.D. in biology in 1963. In 1964, Rubinoff became Biologist and Assistant Director of marine biology at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama where he conducted research on the evolution of fishes. The Barro Colorado Island Research Station (BCI), in the Panama Canal Zone, was a tropical biology field station established in 1923 and run by a consortium of universities and government agencies. This Canal Zone Biological Area (CZBA), was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution in 1946 and was renamed the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in 1966. Rubinoff became the Assistant Director for Science at STRI in 1970, and in 1973 he assumed the directorship. During his tenure, he focused on creating infrastructure for scientists, fund raising, and the transition of the Panama Canal from United States to Panamanian control. Rubinoff also held many concurrent positions: member of the science advisory board for the Gorgas Memorial Institute; Chairman for the board of fellowships and grants of the Smithsonian Institution, 1978-1979; and member of the board of directors for the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands. In 2002 and 2007, Rubinoff served as Acting Assistant Secretary and Acting Undersecretary for Science during transition periods in central Smithsonian administration.