The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is an international center for research and education in biology, biomedicine and ecology. Founded in 1888, the MBL is the oldest independent marine laboratory in the Americas, taking advantage of a coastal setting in the Cape Cod village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts. As of 2009, 54 MBL-affiliated scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize. The MBL has three main research centers: the Ecosystems Center; the Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution; and the Whitman Center for Research and Discovery. Each year, hundreds of scientists from around the world come to the MBL to conduct research. Often, they form collaborations at the MBL that continue throughout their professional lifetimes. Serendipitous encounters at the MBL have historically led to leaps in scientific understanding. One example is the meeting of Franklin Stahl and Matthew Meselson at the MBL in the summer of 1954, when they conceived their crucial experiment to demonstrate the semi-conservative replication of DNA (Holmes, 2001: 60-70).