Tag Archives: Oxford

Sir George Pickering and the low salt diet

Nicolas Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London, UK. Photo by Enric likes Funk. 2008. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 2.0. As a young man George Pickering was interested in his native Northumbrian countryside and intended to study agriculture. Persuaded later to read for a degree in biochemistry or physiology, he […]

The death of King George V

Seamus O’Mahony London, England   Fig 1: Lord Dawson of Penn. Photograph by D. Wilding. Wellcome Collection. Copyright © National Portrait Gallery, London. Public Domain. Bertrand Dawson, Lord Dawson of Penn (1864-1945), was the most eminent British doctor in the years between the two world wars. He was both a skilled medical politician (twice president of the […]

Book review of “All manner of ingenuity and industry”: a bio-bibliography of Dr. Thomas Willis 1621-1675

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of “All manner of ingenuity and industry” Thomas Willis, born four hundred years ago, is still known by students of neuroanatomy today for the eponymous Circle of Willis. Yet most doctors do not know the story of Willis, the seventeenth-century British physician and his remarkable contributions to […]

Book review of The Origins of Modern Science

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: The Origins of Modern Science: From Antiquity to the Scientific Revolution. Science and medicine have long been intertwined: many advances in the field of medicine would not have been possible without prior knowledge of fundamental science. It is not surprising, therefore, that a medical historian would also […]

Why do physicians write so badly?

Peter Arnold Sydney, Australia   Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels An old joke is that pharmacists are the only people who can read physicians’ handwriting. This piece is not about handwriting, but about writing style. Compared with great medical authors, like Somerset Maugham, Conan Doyle, Anton Chekhov, John Keats, and Friedrich von Schiller, most […]

How Britain rescued scientists from Nazi tyranny

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Signatories to Letter to The Times, 22 May 1933 In March 1933 while visiting Vienna, William Beveridge, Director of the London School of Economics, learned that Hitler had just decreed it illegal for “non-Aryan,” mostly Jewish people to hold posts in the Civil Service. Many lawyers, doctors, and […]

William Sands Cox—surgeon and founder of the Birmingham Medical School

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Drawing of William Sands Cox by T H Mcguire. 1854. Public domain. Via Wikimedia  In the early nineteenth century Birmingham was the second largest city in England. It was an industrial powerhouse, known as the city of a thousand trades, but it did not have its own medical […]

Tobias and the Angel—miracle or medical?

Elizabeth Colledge  Jacksonville, Florida, United States   Tobias and the Angel. Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio. between circa 1470 and circa 1475. The National Gallery. Via Wikimedia. Admirers of Andrea del Verrocchio’s painting Tobias and the Angel (circa 1470-1475) may be unaware of the purpose of Tobias’s journey with the archangel Raphael. The Book of […]

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin OM, FRS (1910-1994)

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1: Dorothy Hodgkin. by Godfrey Argent. National Portrait Gallery, London. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. Dorothy Hodgkin (Fig 1), though not by religion, had close Quaker affinities through her marriage and through her spirited pacifism. She possessed a unique mixture of scientific skills that allowed her to extend the use of […]

John Dalton

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. John Dalton. Line engraving by W. H. Worthington, 1823, after J. Allen, 1814. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) John Dalton (1766–1844) (Fig 1) is one of the most revered scientists of the last 250 years. His origins were humble. He was the son of Deborah and […]