Goodsir, John

BORN 20 Mar 1814, Anstruther, Fife - DIED 6 Mar 1867, Edinburgh: South Cottage, Wardie
GRAVE LOCATION Edinburgh: Dean Cemetery, Dean Path (alongside one of the central paths)

John Goodsir was the son of Dr. John Goodsir (17820-1848), who worked as a surgeon in Anstruther, Fife. His mother was Elizabeth Dunbar Taylor. His younger brother Harry Goodsir (1819-c1848) would die on Franklin's arctic expedition. In 1826 John started his studies at the University of St Andrews where he studied classics and mathematics. After an apprenticeship to the surgeon Robert Nasmyth (1791-1870) he studied medicine at Edinburgh University. In 1835 he qualified as Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons and returned to Anstruther.

In 1841 he succeeded William MacGillivray (1796-1852) as the conservator of the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He promoted the collections by giving lectures to students as well as to the public. In 1843 he became the curator of the natural history collection of Edinburgh University. With his brother Harry he published "Anatomical and Pathological Observations" in 1845.

Goodsir performed important research in the field of cell theory. He stressed the importance of the cell as the center of nutrition and explained that the cell was divided into a number of departments. His work was explicitly praised by Rudolf Virchow (1821-1902). In 1842 Goodsir was elected into the Royal Society of Edinburgh and he became a Fellow of the Rpoyal Society in 1846. A membership of the American Philosophical Society followed in 1849. In 1846 he succeeded Alexander Monro as Professor of Anatomy at Edinburgh University. During the last ten years of his life he lived at Wardie in the north of Edinburgh. He died there in 1867.

Related persons
• was teacher to Anderson, John
• was a friend of Bennett, John Hughes


The grave of John Goodsir at Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh.
Picture by Androom (05 Nov 2019)


John Goodsir - Wikipedia
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Gordigiani, Giulietta

Published: 11 Jul 2022
Last update: 11 Jul 2022