East, Edward Murray, 1879-1938, American biologist, b. Du Quoin, Ill., grad. Univ. of Illinois (B.S., 1900; Ph.D., 1907). He served the agricultural experiment stations at the Univ. of Illinois and in Connecticut, and from 1909 he was professor of experimental plant morphology and of genetics at Harvard. His researches—in part for the Dept. of Agriculture—on the genetics and breeding of corn, tobacco, and potatoes were especially valuable; he was instrumental in revolutionizing American corn growing by applying inbred strain breeding. His works include Mankind at the Crossroads (1923) and Heredity and Human Affairs (1927); he contributed to and edited Biology in Human Affairs (1931).
East is a direction in geography. It is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points, opposite of west and at right angles to north and south. East is the direction toward which the Earth rotates about its axis, and therefore the general direction from which the Sun appears to rise.


The etymology of east is from a Proto-Indo-European language word for dawn, *hausos. Cf. Latin aurora and Greek eōs. Eostre, a Germanic goddess of dawn, might have been a personification of both dawn and the cardinal point.

By convention, an ordinary terrestrial map is oriented so the right side is east. This convention dates from the Renaissance. Many medieval maps were oriented with the Orient (the East) east at the top, which is the source of the verb orient.

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