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Sir Alexander Ogston


1844 - 1929

Surgeon and bacteriologist. Born in Aberdeen, the son of a physician, Ogston was educated in the city and graduated in medicine from Marischal College 1866. He extended his education in Europe but returned to Aberdeen to assist his father. He worked in the Isolation Hospital in the city and the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, before accepting the Regius Chair of Surgery at the University of Aberdeen in 1882.

He had studied the work of Pasteur and learned of antisepsis from Joseph Lister (1827 - 1912). He isolated bacteria from abscesses, studied them microscopically, identified them as a new organism and named them Staphylococcus aureus.

Having served in the Egyptian campaign of 1885 and the Boer War, he was passionate as to the importance of effective military surgery and his criticisms brought the creation of the Royal Army Medical Corp in 1898, which he greatly improved.

Ogston was appointed Surgeon in Ordinary by Queen Victoria in 1892, he also served in this capacity to Edward VII and George V. He was knighted in 1912 and received honorary degrees from the Universities of Glasgow (1901) and Aberdeen (1910). The student surgical society at the University of Aberdeen is called the Ogston Society in his honour and an annual prize named after him is awarded to the best student.

He died at his home on Union Street, Aberdeen.


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