Thursday, 28 January 2010

Heroes and people who inspire me

Hero –noun, plural -roes
a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal

Everyone has a hero, or heroes.  I have lots of heroes - sometimes I see something that someone has done and I think "Wow, that's great, I really really admire that!"  And then I forget what it was I admired... and the hero moment is lost.

So I'm going to write about my heroes here so their great deeds won't be forgotten...

Ok, well there has to be one superhero in here, and Spidey is my favourite.  Why Spidey?  Because of his "With great power, comes great responsibility."  And Spidey is smart, he's a scientist, and he's nerdy in real life too (hmm, parallels anyone?).  How could anybody not admire the crime fighting Friendly Neighbourhood Spiderman?  I wish I had powers like his!  Climbing walls would be awesome.

William Osler

The father of modern medicine, Osler was a teacher, pathologist and a bit of a practical joker.  He insisted that medical students learned from seeing and talking to patients, and also established medical residency.  He once said, "I desire no other epitaph … than the statement that I taught medical students in the wards, as I regard this as by far the most useful and important work I have been called upon to do."
Osler said a great many wise things:
- "He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all."
- "If you listen carefully to the patient they will tell you the diagnosis"   (emphasising the importance of good history/examination)
- "Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability."
Amusingly, he wrote articles under the name Egerton Yorrick Davis, one of which was about penis captivus (which is about muscles of the vagina clamping down so hard on the penis you cannot withdraw - which was a hoax btw).  What a cheeky fella!

Harvey Cushing
A brilliant neurosurgeon who not only is attributed to Cushing's disease and the Cushing reflex seen in raised intracranial pressure, is on my list of people I admire because he also was the first to use an anaesthetic chart as well as introducing blood pressure monitoring and praecordial auscultation.  He also described the terminology of regional anaesthesia and employed the first independent neuroanaesthetist!  Now a surgeon who thinks?  I like it.  And, he also won a Pulitzer prize for his biography of Sir William Osler.


Howard Florey
Alexander Fleming originally discovered the Penicillum mould whichinhibited the growth of bacteria in his lab in 1928.  However, Australian scientist Howard Florey and his team of scientists developed penicillin 10 years later, earning him a Nobel prize with Ernst Chain in 1945.
Florey studied medicine at the University of Adelaide, inspired to do so by his chemistry teacher.  He was a quiet man, but sure of himself and his direction. He inspired those around him with his scientific enthusiasm, his skill and his total honesty and lack of pretentiousness.
Today a suburb in Canberra is named after him and he was depicted on the old $50 note.

Developing penicillin was a team effort, as these things tend to be
Howard Florey, Baron Florey

Zhengrong Shi
Someone who is still alive!  Zhengrong Shi is the founder of Suntech industries, and is the son of a Chinese farmer who came to Australia as an electrical engineer to study solarvoltaic technology.  He was enticed back to China to start up a solar panel company and today is one of the richest people in China (and also on the Australian list too).  Why do I admire him?  Well he had humble beginnings, came to Australia to study and went back to China yet still donates to UNSW for solar technology research (well he is rich after all!).  And he is researching and advancing sustainable energy.  A bit of a strange person for me to admire, I know, but for some reason his story seems to inspire me because I think he has a great legacy to leave behind.

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