Sir Frederick Grant Banting

Medicine

Successfully isolated insulin and received the Nobel Prize

Banting studied medicine at the University of Toronto, obtained his medical degree in 1916 and served for the remainder of World War I as a medical officer overseas. He was awarded the Military Cross for heroism under fire. Banting later became interested in diabetes mellitus, a disease which at that time meant a slow but certain death. He and his colleague, Charles Best, discovered a hormone called insulin that helped people suffering from diabetes to live normal lives. In 1923 Banting was awarded the Nobel Prize for this work. Outraged that his co-worker had not also been awarded the prize, he gave half his share to Best. The Banting Research Foundation was established by Canadian Parliament that same year. With the coming of World War II, Banting was again involved with medical war work and died in a plane crash over Newfoundland.

Sources: Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 1982, Nobel Prize Laureates; Image: Arthur S. Gross, National Archives of Canada /P A-123481

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