13 Mar 2015

Sir Ronald Ross on why physiology is fundamental and the usefulness of negative results in medical research

Sir Ronald Ross
Sir Ronald Ross, winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology in 1902 for his discovery of the malaria parasite, wrote in 1881 in a short story titled 'The Vivisector':

 "I [am] convinced of the necessity for a better knowledge of Physiology; for unless we know the working of a watch or machine, how can we hope to mend it? Truly hot oil poured in may do good; but it can also possibly clog the wheels. Hygiene is the better part of medicine; physiology, the best part of both: for without it we put on spectacles in the dark."

Ross also put his finger on how both negative and positive results in scientific research are needed, when he has one of the physiologists exclaiming as they are about to embark on their experiment, "Now... we shall get at least some knowledge; either a useful negative result, or a world-reforming fact." Notice he puts 'useful negative result' first.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...