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World Diabetes Day - 14 November

Scientists who changed the world

Scientists who changed the world

William Harvey (1578-1657)

Circulation of the blood

The first person to describe in full the circulation and properties of blood being pumped through the body by the heart. Born in Folkestone and physician to King James I, Harvey believed he did his best thinking in darkness and so used to hide out in caves. Learn more about his life at

Edward Jenner (1749-1823)


An English scientist credited as the pioneer of the smallpox vaccine and referred to as the father of immunology. He controversially tested his hypothesis by inoculating eight-year-old James Phipps, the son of his gardener, with material from cowpox blisters. Check out an excellent resource from ruthanneclarke to explain how he did it.

Sir Frederick Grant Banting (1891-1941)


A Canadian medical scientist and doctor, he was one of the main discoverers of insulin and received the Nobel Prize for medicine at the age of 32. He was turned down by the army because of his poor eyesight but worked exhaustively in the Medical Corps. En route to England he was killed in a plane crash over Newfoundland at the age of 49. World Diabetes Day is his birthday. Learn more about him with a resource from HarrisSchool.

Alexander Fleming (1881-1955)


Fleming's accidental discovery and isolation of penicillin in 1928 marks the start of modern antibiotics, which changed the face of medicine. The laboratory at St Mary's Hospital where he discovered penicillin is home to the Fleming Museum, now a popular London attraction. Find out more in a detailed PowerPoint from Susan Reed.

Wilhelm Rontgen (1845-1923)

The X-ray

The German scientist is considered the father of diagnostic radiology - but he almost didn't become a doctor. A murky incident, details unknown, for which he was expelled from school saw him unable to get into mainstream universities. He went on to be the first winner of the Nobel Prize for physics. In keeping with his will, all his scientific correspondence was destroyed on his death. Read more at www.medcyclopaedia.comlibraryradiologychapter01.aspx

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