Henry Hallett Dale FRS (1875-1968)

Henry Dale was the first Director of NIMR, and a distinguished scientist known for his research on the chemical transmission of nerve impulses. He applied the same qualities to research as to administration: “clarity of mind, breadth of vision, balanced judgement, unremitting care, and shrewd practicality.” He provided support, encouragment and friendship to colleagues, and was regarded with enormous affection. After retirement from NIMR, Dale remained active on many committees. He became a member of the MRC Council, and was chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the War Cabinet (1942 to 1947), and chair of the post-war Committee on Medical and Biological Application of Nuclear Physics (1945-9). As President of the Royal Society he spoke publicly on issues including the scientific establishment’s “new responsibility for the future of mankind.”

He espoused the cause of women in science: in March 1945 two women, Kathleen Lonsdale and Marjory Stephenson, were elected as Fellows of the Royal Society. In his Presidential Address that year Dale recognised “the growth in extent and distinction of women’s contribution to the advancement of science by research.” For the Wellcome Trust, Dale continued as a trustee until his 85th birthday in 1960, overseeing grant awards for research, and then only cut back a little, remaining as a scientific advisor until one week before he died at the age of age 93. In token of his memory the Wellcome Trust endowed a research professorship in his honour and a floating research vessel for use in Africa, The Lady Dale.

1875 Born in Islington, London on 9 June
1898 First-class honours degree in natural sciences, Trinity College, Cambridge
1900 Begins clinical training, St Bartholomews Hospital, London
1903 Qualifies in medicine; visits Paul Ehrlich laboratory in Frankfurt, Germany
1904 Pharmacologist, Wellcome Physiological Research Laboratories
1914 Fellow of the Royal Society
1914 Head of Biochemistry and Pharmacology, MRC Central Research Institute
1928 Appointed Director-in-Chief of NIMR
1931 Founder member of the British Pharmacological Society
1932 Knighted
1936 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, with Otto Loewi
1937 Copley Medal of the Royal Society
1938 Appointed chair of the Wellcome Trust
1940 Elected President of the Royal Society
1942 Retires from NIMR
1948 Knight Grand Cross Order of the British Empire
1944 Order of Merit
1968 Died 23 July

 

Henry Hallett Dale
Henry Hallett Dale Credit: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1936/

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