Meet the two versions of Phineas Gage

Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, first encountered the story of Phineas Gage during a major course Psychology at University of Stirling in 1974 and this fascinating tale has stuck with him ever since. In this blog he tells us more about the curious case of Phineas Gage. A moral man, Phineas GageTamping powder down…

A Question of Balance

Our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, tells us more about the history of insulin. Anyone with type 1 diabetes is familiar with the concept of balancing their blood sugar – weighing activity and food against medication. This is something I have lived with daily for nearly thirty years. It is a condition that is dealt…

Meet Daniel Sickles

Our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, tells us more about an interesting tale he came across during his research. The Battle of Gettysburg, in July 1863, was the bloodiest Battle of the American Civil War, producing about 50,000 casualties over 3 days of fighting around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle had begun badly for the…

An Eagle’s Skull

Our Human Remains Conservator was doing some work for our new Body Voyager galleries when she came across a skull which had an unusual feature. In this blog she explains what makes this feature so rare and tells us more about the condition that caused it. Sometimes in a museum you find things you aren’t…

The history of vaccination – learning to hoodwink immunological memory

In this latest blog our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, takes us through the history of vaccination. As we all wait for a vaccine against Covid-19, it’s timely to consider the history of vaccination and its nature. The basis of vaccination is that serious infection by a virus or bacterium can be prevented by…

The discovery of the nature of infectious disease

From the mystery of fever to germ theory our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, discusses the discovery of infectious diseases throughout history. The mystery of ‘Fever’ The current pandemic serves to remind us that our environment teems with microbes that we can’t see, at least not with the naked eye.  Luckily very few of…

Surgical Complications

In this blog our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, talks about what happens on the rare occasion an item gets left behind inside the patient after surgery. When a patient is being stitched up after surgery, one hopes that nothing has been left inside the body that shouldn’t be there. Unfortunately it happens. Usually someone…

The Discovery of Viruses

As our lives have been greatly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic it’s hard to imagine a world without viruses. But when were viruses discovered? Our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, takes us through the history of viruses. The current pandemic serves to remind us that the first discovery of viruses was only one hundred…

Ziegler Waxes: Visualising the Embryo

Our Human Remains Conservator, Cat Irving, looks at the history of Embryology and tells us more about the creator of some wax models held in our Collection. On visiting Surgeons’ Hall, people are often most struck by the ‘things in jars’ – human tissue that has been preserved to help teach and understand anatomy and…

Research in Surgeons’ Hall Museums

Our Senior Research Fellow, Ken Donaldson, gives us a little look at some of the research he has been carrying out at the Museum. I came to Surgeons’ Hall museums 7 years ago after a career in occupational lung disease research and now occupy the post of Senior Research Fellow.  The Senior Research Fellow is…

A Human History of Coronaviruses

In this time of a global pandemic it is worth considering the discovery of the coronaviruses that infect humans. Our Senior Research Fellow, Professor Ken Donaldson, takes a look at the history of the coronavirus. The coronavirus family All living creatures, even bacteria, are infected by viruses, with two hundred and nineteen species of virus…