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James W. Black: Wikis


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Sir James Whyte Black
Born 14 June 1924 (1924-06-14)
Nationality Scottish
Fields chemistry
Institutions University of Malaya
University of Glasgow
ICI Pharmaceuticals
University College London
King's College London
Alma mater University College, Dundee
Known for inventing Propranolol and synthesizing Cimetidine
Notable awards Lasker award (1976)
Artois-Baillet Latour Health Prize (1979)
Nobel Prize for Medicine (1988)
Royal Medal (2004)

Sir James Whyte Black, OM, FRS, FRSE, FRCP (born 14 June 1924) is a Scottish doctor and pharmacologist who invented Propranolol, synthesized Cimetidine and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988 for these discoveries.[1]


Early life and education

Black was educated at Beath High School, Cowdenbeath, Fife, Scotland, and the University of St Andrews, Fife, where he studied medicine. Before 1967, including his time as a student, all of St Andrews' clinical medical activity took place at University College, which separated to become the University of Dundee, of which Black later became Chancellor. He joined the Physiology department at the University of St Andrews before taking a lecturer position at the University of Malaya.


Upon his return to Scotland in 1950, he joined the University of Glasgow (Veterinary School) where he established the Physiology Department. During his career he worked in both industry and academia. He was employed by ICI Pharmaceuticals (1958-1964), Smith, Kline and French (1964-1973) and the Wellcome Foundation (1978-1984) and was appointed professor of pharmacology at University College London (1973-1978) and King's College London (1984-1992).

Scientific and clinical contributions

Sir James Black contributed to basic scientific and clinical knowledge in cardiology, both as a physician and as a basic scientist. His invention of propranolol, the beta adrenergic receptor antagonist that revolutionized the medical management of angina pectoris, is considered to be one of the most important contributions to clinical medicine and pharmacology of the 20th century.[2][3] His method of research, his discoveries about adrenergic pharmacology, and his clarification of the mechanisms of cardiac action are all strengths of his work.[4] He was greatly involved in the synthesis of cimetidine, at the time a revolutionary drug for the treatment and prevention of peptic ulcers. Cimetidine was the first of a new class of drugs, the H2-receptor antagonists.

Other offices

Sir James was the Chancellor of the University of Dundee between 1992 and May 2006. In August 2006, the Sir James Black Centre was officially incorporated into the College of Life Sciences at the university.

Honours and awards

He was created a Knight Bachelor in 1981. In 2000 Sir James was appointed to the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1976 and the same year he was awarded the Lasker award.[5] In 1979, he was awarded the Artois-Baillet Latour Health Prize.

See also


Academic offices
Preceded by
Earl of Dalhousie
Chancellor of the University of Dundee
Succeeded by
Baron Patel


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