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Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Lest We Forget

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 12 June 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1379
  1. Robert Bud, principal curator of medicine, Science Museum, London
  1. r.bud{at}

The teamwork needed by industrial technoscience means individual achievements get lost, finds Robert Bud

Recalling the deeds of our predecessors is a worthy and devout act. It keeps their memory alive and gives our own lives meaning as we visualise ourselves as further links in the chain of history. The ambition of David Greenwood, the distinguished emeritus professor of antimicrobial science at the University of Nottingham Medical School, is to celebrate “as many of the antimicrobial pioneers as possible.” His aim is to widen the circle of memorialised pioneers beyond the narrow confines of Ehrlich, Fleming, and Waksman. It is a serious and worthwhile ambition.

The challenge for Greenwood is that modern pharmacology grew up in the era of industrial technoscience. In the 19th century the contributors to most subjects were measured in tens. Even by 1990 the contributors to smaller specialties could be …

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