Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine Recipient, Poet. Sir Ronald Ross was awarded, according to the Norwegian Nobel Prize Institute, the 1902 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine "for his work on malaria, by which he has shown how it enters the organism and thereby has laid the foundation for successful research on this disease and methods of combating it." On August 20, 1897 he discovered that the serious, and sometimes fatal, disease malaria was transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito. Born in India as one of ten children of Sir C.C.G. Ross, a general in the British Army, he wanted to pursue a career in the arts, but his father made him be a military physician. When he was seven, he was sent to England to be educated. Excelling in his lessons, he received an award for his mathematical skills at age 14 and placed first in all of England with a drawing at age 16. He enrolled in the study of medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London in 1874; passed the examinations for the Royal College of Surgeon of England in 1879; entered the Indian Medical Service in 1881; and started the study of malaria in 1892. From June of 1888 until May of 1889, he returned to England to earn a diploma in public health. By 1899 he had left the military was in England joining the faculty of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine as a lecturer and by 1902 was chairman of the department for ten years. In 1910 he published his professional text, “The Prevention of Malaria.” In 1912 he became a physician for Tropical Diseases at King's College Hospital in London. In 1917 he became honorary Consultant in Malariology in the British War Office. After authoring several professional papers, Ross was elected in 1901 a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and a Fellow of the Royal Society. Besides receiving the Nobel Prize in 1902, he was awarded the Cameron Prize for Therapeutics of the University of Edinburgh and appointed a Companion of the Most Honorable Order of Bath by His Majesty, King Edward VII of Great Britain. In 1911 he was elevated to the rank of Knight Commander of the same Order by King George V. In Belgium, he was made an Officer in the Order of Leopold II. He was the first British subject to received the Nobel Prize and the first born outside of Europe. On July 15, 1926 the Ross Institute and Hospital for Tropical Diseases at Bath House, a mansion in Putney Heath, was officially opened, and he became director for the 20-bed hospital and research facility until his death, which was at the institute after a long illness. Some fifteen months after his death for financial reasons, the Ross Institute merged into the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The Bath House was demolished in the 1930s but the street was named Ross Court in his memory, as was the Robert Ross Primary School located in the area. He married and was the father of two sons and two daughters. A 1895 poem, which he had written for only his wife, contains the the Biblical verse, “O Death, where is thy sting,” referring to the mosquito's sting in his poem. Ross also received notoriety for authoring poems about the great devastation and loss brought by World War I, which includes “Duty”, “Farewells”, “Black August”, and “Apocalypse.” After his eldest son was killed in action in France in 1914, he wrote of his grief referring to his son as “a gift of God” in the 1919 poem, “The Father.” Besides his collections of poetry and his 1910 professional text book, he published his 1923 memoirs, several novels and lyrics to songs. Like his father, he painted landscapes in watercolors all his life. Sir Ronald Ross Institute of Parasitology, a research institute in Hyderabad, India is named in his honor as well as Liverpool University's Ronald Ross Building at the Institute of Infection and Global Health.
Bio by: Linda Davis