Prize Fight: Canada’s First Nobel Prize

Banquet in the Great Hall of Hart House, University of Toronto, 26 November 1923 in honour of FG Banting and JJR Macleod jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine

Ivan Semeniuk has an excellent article in today’s Globe & Mail titled “Prize Fight: One century later, experts revisit the hidden feud behind Canada’s First Nobel,” describing the complex history behind the award to Banting and Macleod for the discovery of insulin. Semeniuk attended the symposium hosted by the Toronto Medical Historical Club last month and describes the hidden tensions among the key figures as well as the evolution of the story of the discovery over the past 100 years. Several speakers at the symposium, John Dirks, James Wright, and Ken McHardy, are interviewed in the article.


Smallpox Eradication

This sketch, called 'Incident of the Smallpox Epidemic, Montreal,' by Robert Harris, shows the violence with which the sanitary police removed smallpox patients from the public to quarantine them. The illustration was first published in Harper's Weekly, on Nov. 28, 1885. PHOTO BY ROBERT HARRIS

In today’s Ottawa Citizen, Ryan Briggs and Christopher Rutty argue for the declaration of “Smallpox Eradication Day.” In the context of COVID-19, which reminded the world of the power of a novel virus to bring illness and death, Briggs and Rutty make the case that it is important to remember what was accomplished on Dec. 9, 1979.

You can read more in Chris’s article titled “Smallpox: ‘The Speckled Monster'” which was written for the University of Toronto Connaught Fund website for his series on the Connaught Laboratories.


Ode to Ingenuity

MADAS VII T Mechanical Calculator, 1940s [Photo: Kailee Mandel, UT Magazine]

Erich Weidenhammer is interviewed in the article “Ode to Ingenuity” in the University of Toronto Magazine. The beautifully illustrated article describes the importance of historical scientific instruments. Erich explains how an artifact can provide insights beyond what can be gleaned from scientific papers.

Erich is curator of the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection which gathers, safeguards, researches, catalogues, and interprets the material heritage of research at the University of Toronto. It is one of the largest collections of historical scientific instruments in Canada.


Wondrous Transformations

Alison Li’s book Wondrous Transformations: A maverick physician, the science of hormones, and the birth of the transgender revolution was published September 26 by University of North Carolina Press. It is a biography of Dr. Harry Benjamin, a pivotal figure in the development of transgender healthcare.

“I’ve been hoping for a long time that somebody would write this book. Alison Li has produced a highly readable, authoritatively researched biography of Harry Benjamin, whose contributions to transgender medicine are not as widely known as they should be. A much-needed corrective.”

Susan Stryker, author of Transgender History

“With Wondrous Transformations, Alison Li has written a compelling and eminently readable biography that is at the same time magisterial in the scope and depth of its research. A must-read for anyone interested in the history of science, medicine, or trans iterations of the same.”

Jules Gill-Peterson, author of Histories of the Transgender Child

Alison is featured in an Author Profile in Quill and Quire.


Bring Your Cancer Stories to Life! Workshop

Charles Hayter will be presenting a workshop “Bring Your Cancer Stories to Life! Techniques to Improve Your Cancer Narratives” at the International Cancer Education Conference. The session will be held Wednesday, October 4, 2023 at 7:30-9:00 AM at Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, 525 Bay St., Toronto. Advanced registration and fee is required.

Charles is the author of Cancer Confidential: Backstage Dramas in the Radiation Clinic, now available wherever books are sold.