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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 63
Baird held that "the quantitative study of disease was born to a considerable degree at the Rockefeller Institute." Tosteson quotes Baird as saying much later, "Whatever biochemistry is today—it owes as much to clinical medicine for its high place among the biological sciences—as medicine owes to it."
During these five years, Baird also initiated his studies of the physiochemical basis for bone deposition, in particular by a pioneering application of the DeBye-Huckel theory to the stepwise dissociation of carbonic and phosphoric acids. In the spring of 1925, Flexner asked Baird, now an associate, to supervise a two-week visit by Otto Warburg. Baird was commissioned, upon learning to use the Warburg apparatus for measuring tissue respiration, to teach its use in the Cancer Research Laboratory of the Institute. Baird told the story of how it became obvious to him that Warburg had heretofore in his work not measured the pH but calculated the hydrogen ion concentrations, all the while assuming exactly concurrent rather than successive dissociation of the two hydrogen ions of carbonic acid. On Warburg's return to Germany he published a brief correction with thanks to Hastings. Furthermore, he invited Hastings to Berlin-Dahlem, and, during the following summer stay by the young Hastings family, Baird learned to his pleasure the use of the gold-leaf electroscope, actually for measuring the coefficient of solubility of radon in yeast cells and red blood cells.
Baird always gave his wife, Margaret Johnson Hastings, much credit for inspiring him with her high academic standards and with helping him make career decisions throughout their lives together. Margaret proposed the Sunday teas at which the Hastings later entertained first-year Harvard medical students. Members of Baird's department also were ben-