Frederick Banting

Frederick Grant Banting
Fredrick banting.jpg
Banting in 1931
Born(1891-11-14)November 14, 1891
Alliston, Ontario, Canada
DiedFebruary 21, 1941(1941-02-21) (aged 49)
Near Musgrave Harbour, Dominion of Newfoundland
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
Known for

Co-discoverer of insulin

Marion Robertson
(m. 1924; divorce 1932)

Henrietta Ball
(m. 1937; his death 1941)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Western Ontario
Frederick Banting Signature.svg

Military career
Allegiance Canada
Service/branchRoyal Canadian Army Medical Corps
Years of service1916–1918
Battles/warsWorld War I
AwardsMilitary Cross

Sir Frederick Grant Banting KBE MC FRS FRSC[1] (November 14, 1891 – February 21, 1941) was a Canadian medical scientist, physician, painter, and Nobel laureate noted as the co-discoverer of insulin and its therapeutic potential.[2]

In 1923 Banting and John James Rickard Macleod received the Nobel Prize in Medicine.[3] Banting shared the award money with his colleague, Dr. Charles Best. As of November 2016, Banting, who received the Nobel Prize at age 32, remains the youngest Nobel laureate in the area of Physiology/Medicine.[4] In 1923 the Government of Canada granted Banting a lifetime annuity to continue his work. In 1934 he was knighted by King George V.

Early years

View of the Banting farm. Site preserved under the Ontario Heritage Act, with a plaque from the Federal Government recognizing Banting.

Frederick Banting was born on November 14, 1891, in a farm house near Alliston, Ontario.[5] The youngest of five children of William Thompson Banting and Margaret Grant,[6] he attended public high schools in Alliston. In 1910, he started at Victoria College, part of the University of Toronto, in the General Arts program. After failing his first year, he petitioned to join the medical program in 1912 and was accepted. He began medical school in September 1912.[7]:28–29

In 1914, he attempted to enter the army on August 5, and then again in October, but was refused due to poor eyesight.[7]:33–34 Banting successfully joined the army in 1915 and spent the summer training before returning to school. His class was fast-tracked to get more doctors into the war and so he graduated in December 1916 and reported for military duty the next day.[7]:36–37 He was wounded at the Battle of Cambrai in 1918. Despite his injuries, he helped other wounded men for sixteen hours, until another doctor told him to stop. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1919, for heroism.[8]

Banting returned to Canada after the war and went to Toronto to complete his surgical training.[7]:44 He studied orthopedic medicine and, in 1919–1920, was Resident Surgeon at The Hospital for Sick Children. Banting was unable to gain a place on the hospital staff and so he decided to move to London, Ontario to set up a medical practice. From July 1920 to May 1921, he continued his general practice, while teaching orthopedics and anthropology part-time at the University of Western Ontario in London because his medical practice had not been particularly successful.[7]:48 From 1921 to 1922 he lectured in pharmacology at the University of Toronto. He received his M.D. degree in 1922, and was also awarded a gold medal.[8]

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