Nathan Fasten was born in Austria on December 4, 1887, and came to the United States when he was two years old. He grew up in New York City, and graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1910 with a bachelor of science in chemical biology. From 1911 to 1914 he studied zoology, plant physiology, cytology, genetics, evolution, and fisheries as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, earning a Ph.D. in 1914.
After teaching at Marshall College (1910-1911), the University of Wisconsin (1911-1914) and the University of Washington (1914-1920), Fasten came to Oregon Agricultural College in 1920 as an associate professor of zoology and physiology. The next year he was promoted to professor and department head; he served in that capacity until his resignation from Oregon State College in 1944. He later worked as Chief Scientist for the Washington State Water Pollution Commission in Seattle. Fasten authored many journal articles and books. The latter included Origin Through Evolution (1930), Elements of General Zoology (1931), Principles of Genetics and Eugenics; A Study of Heredity and Variation in Plants, Animals, and Man (1935), and Introduction to General Zoology (1941). He was a member of several honorary societies and professional organizations, including Sigma Xi (national science honor society), the American Society of Naturalists, and the American Society of Zoologists. He was also a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Fasten died in Seattle on September 19, 1953.
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