Re: OT: Big Brag

From:"J. A. Kiernan" <>

yOn Wed, 23 May 2001, Connie McManus wrote:
> I have to brag about my husband.  He (WR McManus) is a co-author on a paper
> that will be published in Nature. I believe it will be in the next issue.  

That's really great! I hope it's noticed and widely cited by 
others in the future. You didn't say what the paper was about.

McManus is a Big Name in histochemistry - PAS and all that.
There's an excellent but rather old textbook (McManus and
Mowry, 1960) of histological and histochemical methodology.
Mowry (who is a retired but still academically active pathologist)
was an originator of alcian blue and PAS combinations. He also 
did research that made aldehyde-fuchsine a reliable and useful
technique. The scientific session at the next meeting of the
Biological Stain Commission (Friday June 8th at the Winfrey
Hotel in Birmingham, Alabama) is a series of presentations in
honour of Mowry and some other pioneers of modern histotechnology.

I don't think anybody has ever cited "Treatment of human 
streptococcal infections with a non-toxic bactericidal 
compound crystallized from extracts of Penicillium notatum 
that inhibits bacterial growth in  vitro" by J. A. Kiernan,
in  Nature 147:838-839 (1926). (The Irish name probably evoked 
prejudice, because some Scot got into print 2 years later for 
doing the same sort of thing with a crude extract of the mould. 
Even he didn't get his recognition for nearly 20 years, 
because he wasn't at Oxford.)  As one of my mentors once said, 
a month before he was made an FRS, "It's all in the literature, 
but you have to look." If you look up the Kiernan (1926) letter 
to Nature on what was to become penicillin, you will be able to
see why it was never cited in the works of Fleming, Florey and 
Ernst Boris Chain.

John A. Kiernan
Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
London,  Canada   N6A 5C1

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