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Prof. Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer


1850 - 1935

Physiologist. Born in London, the son of a German merchant, Sharpey-Schafer was educated at Clewer House School and University College London, where he remained as Assistant Professor and then Professor until 1899. He was then appointed to the Chair of Physiology at the University of Edinburgh, a position he occupied until his retirement in 1933. Soon after his arrival in Edinburgh, he commissioned the architect Robert Lorimer (1864 - 1929) to design a substantial home in North Berwick, where he was able to enjoy golf.

Sharpey-Schafer began as a histologist, and published in this field, but went on to become the founder of endocrinology, having conceived the name endocrine for glands which secrete hormones directly into the bloodstream. In 1894 he co-discovered the hormone adrenaline. He was knighted in 1913. Amongst his numerous honorary degrees were those from the University of Aberdeen and the University of St. Andrews.

He was President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and gave a President's Address in Dundee in 1912 which attracted much public attention because he claimed life was not brought about through some mysterious vital force, but was due rather to the laws of chemistry and physics.

He died in North Berwick.


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