SKU: BK2489

The 'miracle drug' penicillin was first given intravenously to a patient in Oxford on 12 February 1941, leading to a transformation in the way that bacterial infection is understood and treated. What was to become one of the greatest stories in biomedical history not only had roots in Oxford, but was the latest in a line of pivotal medical discoveries made in the city.

This short illustrated history chronicles the story of Oxford's contribution to science, from its medieval origins to its present status as one of the world's leading scientific institutions. In charting Oxford's remarkable history, the book showcases twenty discoveries which have shaped medical science across the centuries, with worldwide impact. 

In the early seventeenth century few centres could rival Oxford in the field of experimental medicine. William Harvey, Thomas Willis and Thomas Sydenham all gained eponymous immortality with their pioneering research into the circulation of the blood and the workings of the human body. In the early twentieth century Dorothy Hodgkin's development of x-ray crystallography earned her a Nobel Prize and more recently, Richard Doll's work on smoking, pioneering glucose sensors for diabetes and new treatments for haemophilia have helped save millions of lives.

Great Medical Discoveries traces how these examples of groundbreaking and vital work form part of a wider tapestry of medical research, from the discovery of anaesthetics to pioneering neurosurgery, and demonstrates how such enduring contributions to medical science have helped to shape our lives, both locally and internationally.

Conrad Keating is the Writer-in-Residence at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at Oxford University. As a professional historian he has written for newspapers, radio and television.

  • Paperback
  • 96 pages, 234 x 156 mm
  • 40 colour illustrations
  • ISBN: 9781851240036
  • Publication November 2013

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