College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

Lecture marks centenary of Lister's death

A public lecture is being held at the University to mark the centenary of the death of Joseph Lister, who is famed for pioneering the use of antiseptics.

The lecture will be given by Professor James Garden, who holds the University’s Regius Chair of Clinical Surgery - a position also held by Lister.

Joseph Lister

Joseph Lister arrived in Edinburgh at the age of 25 in 1853 having already qualified as a doctor in London.

He started working for Professor James Syme, an eminent surgeon whose daughter, Agnes, he was later to marry.

Lister’s career saw him become Professor in Surgery at Glasgow before returning to Edinburgh to take up the Chair of Clinical Surgery.

He later became Professor of Surgery at King’s College London, a post he took up in order to convince colleagues in London to use his antiseptic methods.

Professor James Garden

Professor Garden is a specialist liver, pancreatic and biliary surgeon who undertook the first successful liver transplantation in Edinburgh in 1992.

His talk, at the University’s anatomy lecture theatre, will highlight Lister’s contribution to the development of modern surgery and current surgical practice.

The University’s anatomical museum will also be open on the day of the lecture - Saturday, February 11th - between 10am and 4pm.

A Lister exhibition is also being held at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

This public lecture is being held at the end of a week of scientific meetings at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, which mark the 100th anniversary of Joseph Lister's death on February 10th, 1012.

Lister's Legacy - 100 years on

The public lecture is free to attend but booking is required. Doors open at 1pm. The event may be photographed or recorded for promotional or recruitment materials for the University and University approved third parties.

Saturday 11 February 2012, 1.30pm

Saturday 11 February 2012, 2.30pm

Anatomy Lecture Theatre (Doorway 3, 1st Floor), Medical School, Teviot Place, EH8 9AG

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Lister and carbolic acid

Lister’s innovation in antiseptics centred around the use of carbolic acid.

He argued that infections and sepsis in wounds was caused due to the existence of germs that needed to be killed.

He subsequently used carbolic acid - which was being used to purify sewage in Carlisle - to douse surgical instruments, wounds and dressings.

His experiments had an immediate effect in reducing infections and mortality rates.