Thursday, 8 January 2009

A memorable visit?

I have started metadata for volumes from Indian veterinary colleges and laboratories and am enjoying discovering the pioneering work that was done over 100 years ago.
The Imperial Bacteriological Laboratory based in Muktesar is now known as the Indian Veterinary Research Institute. It dates from 1891 when Dr. Alfred Lingard was the Imperial Bacteriologist, and its main achievement was producing vaccine and antisera for animal diseases such as rinderpest, anthrax and tetanus.
The coloured photograph shows the 1897 visit of Professor Robert Koch (credit: from the website of the Indian Veterinary Research Institute). Nobel Prize winner German scientist Koch is best known for confirming that microbes cause disease and discovering the tuberculosis and cholera bacillae. He also was interested in the causes of anthrax and rinderpest and his Indian visit saw him working in the field straight from several days’ travelling accompanied by Professor Pfeiffer. You can see him in action in the top photograph, from the Wellcome Library's Wellcome Images.
Dr. Lingard, who authored the report for this memorable visit, unfortunately does not stray from his usual prosaic writing style, ending with “As Professor Koch had received instructions from his Imperial Government to at once proceed to German East Africa, his visit to Muktesar terminated, somewhat prematurely on June 15th.” (1897-98 report).
It is up to the reader to imagine what fascinating conversations the scientists may have had in those busy times of medical discovery!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Some mothers do 'ave 'em...

Had enough of being cooped up with your family over the holidays? Aw, don't be mean - they're not that bad (are they?). The Government wants us to think about our families in a positive way and has published Families in Britain: an evidence paper. It recognises the changing shape of families (not just Ma and Pa and 2.2 kids anymore - not for a long time), and is trying to shape a "modern family policy".