Views & Reviews Medical Classics

Applied Physiology

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 17 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:895
  1. Leonard Sinclair, emeritus consultant paediatrician, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London
  1. Drls{at}

Samson Wright was only 27 years old and a junior lecturer in physiology at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School when Applied Physiology was published. It was an immediate success and sold well, despite the fact that there were two powerful rival texts on physiology: the 6th edition of Principles of Human Physiology by that doyen of English physiologists Ernest Starling and the 16th edition of Halliburton’s Physiology.

“Sammy,” as he was popularly known, had spotted that most of the potential readers were aiming to qualify as doctors. Their ambition was to be clinicians. He therefore introduced an element of pathology into …

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