Michael Woodruff was a British surgeon and scientist
principally remembered for his research into organ transplantation.
Though born in London, Woodruff spent his youth in Australia, where he
earned degrees in electrical engineering and medicine. Having
completed his studies shortly after the outbreak of World War II, he
joined the Australian Army Medical Corps, but was soon captured by
Japanese forces and imprisoned in the Changi Prison Camp. While there,
he devised an ingenious method of extracting nutrients from
agricultural wastes to prevent malnutrition among his fellow POWs. At
the conclusion of the war, Woodruff returned to Britain and began a
long career as an academic surgeon, mixing clinical work and research.
By the end of the 1950s, his study of aspects of transplantation
biology such as rejection and immunosuppression led to his making the
first kidney transplant in the United Kingdom, on October 30, 1960.
For this and his other scientific work, Woodruff was elected a Fellow
of the Royal Society in 1968 and knighted in 1969. Although retiring
from surgical work in 1976, he remained an active figure in the
scientific community, researching cancer and serving on the boards of
various medical and scientific organizations.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Boston Corbett shot and killed John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of U.S.
President Abraham Lincoln.
Paul von Hindenburg defeated Wilhelm Marx in the second round of the
German presidential election, becoming the first directly elected head
of state of the Weimar Republic.
Spanish Civil War: The bombing of Guernica in Spain by the Condor
Legion of the German Luftwaffe resulted in a devastating firestorm.
Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to form Tanzania.
Chernobyl disaster: A nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, Ukraine suffered a
steam explosion, resulting in a fire and a nuclear meltdown.
Wikiquote of the day:
They say that each generation inherits from those that have gone
before; if this were so there would be no limit to man's improvements
or to his power of reaching perfection. But he is very far from
receiving intact that storehouse of knowledge which the centuries have
piled up before him; he may perfect some inventions, but in others, he
lags behind the originators, and a great many inventions have been
lost entirely. What he gains on the one hand, he loses on the other.
-- Eugène Delacroix