Today (14th March) was Einstein’s birthday (he was born in 1879). It was also pi day – happy pi day (should really be tau day – to understand why, see this great video by the wonderful Vi Hart). But I was most excited because it was the day of publication of my narrative biography of John Snow, whose birthday is tomorrow (15th March). This 19th-century physician and pioneer in anaesthesiology is most famous for working out how cholera spreads.
Dr Snow fought hard to convince the medical establishment that his theory about cholera was correct. His unfaltering and selfless dedication to preventing of the spread of the disease makes him a real hero. His approach to finding evidence to support his theory helped to put the young science of epidemiology on a firm scientific footing. He is perhaps best known for locating the source of an outbreak of cholera in 1854 – the water pump on Broad Street, Soho – and for persuading the local officials to remove the pump handle. The street is now called Broadwick Street, but there is a pub there named The John Snow.
Tomorrow will be the 200th anniversary of the birth of this scientific hero – something to celebrate. If you would like to find out the story of this remarkable man’s life, you could do worse than read my book!
(Officially, the book is aimed at 11 year-olds and upwards. But I think adults would benefit from it, too. It’s factually accurate and, though I say so myself, a good read.)
Finally, I posted this video before, but I think it’s fitting to link to it again: it’s a wonderful animated film that explains how cholera spreads – and how it can be prevented from spreading.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DR. SNOW – and thanks.