Childhood & Early Life
Edward Jenner was born to a clergy named Reverand Stephen Jenner on 17th May, 1749, at Berkeley, Gloucestershire. Amongst the nine children born to his parents, he was the eighth.
He pursued his primary education at places like Cirencester and the market town of Worren-under-Edge. During his younger days, Jenner had contracted the dreaded smallpox epidemic and had to deal with this health problem for the rest of his life.
Edward started interning as a medical practitioner, under the guidance of a surgeon named Daniel Ludlow, when he was barely fourteen years old. After working with Ludlow for a period of seven years, he gained enough experience to begin his career as a full-fledged physician.
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In 1770, he moved to the esteemed ‘St. George’s hospital’, located in London, where he worked under the apprenticeship of renowned physician John Hunter. He even pursued his studies in Anatomy at the same time.
His mentor John enlightened Edward about the renowned physician William Harvey’s approach towards medicine, which greatly helped the young man in his career.
After spending three years with John Hunter, Jenner returned to Gloucestershire in 1773 to work as a doctor. He then started a consortium of medical practitioners called ‘Fleece Medical Society’, also popularly known as ‘Gloucestershire Medical Society’, along with few other contemporary physicians.
During the various gatherings of this medical society, this physician presented papers which gave an insight of various ailments such as Opthalmia, Angina Pectoris, Cowpox and Cardio Vascular diseases.
Jenner ventured into Zoology during the 1780’s, by penning his observations about the bird Cuckoo. The physician had inferred that Cuckoo babies had a depression on their backs, which helped in keeping the other eggs in the nest secure and preventing any form of damage.
His findings about Cuckoo birds were well-lauded and appeared in the premier scientific association’s journal, ‘Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society’, in 1788.
Jenner pursued his higher studies in medicine by enrolling himself at the renowned ‘University of St Andrews’, located in Scotland. He graduated from this repute institution in the year 1792.
Jenner’s main contribution to the field of medicine was discovering a vaccination for Smallpox, based on his observation that the pus of Cowpox blisters has the ability to cure Smallpox.
Edward was appointed the president of the ‘Jennerian Society’ in the year 1803, at London. The objective of this society was to raise awareness about the vaccination that had the ability to eradicate Smallpox. However, this society had to be shut after a period of six years.
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In 1805, this physician became an integral part of another consortium, known as the ‘Medical and Chirurgical Society’, which was later re-christened as the ‘Royal Society of Medicine’.
This renowned doctor was appointed as the personal physician of the ruler, King George IV, in 1821. Very few physicians from England had received the honour of serving the monarch.
Personal Life & Legacy
Jenner tied the knot with a woman named Catherine Kingscote in March 1788.
In 1802, he was appointed as a member of the ‘American Academy of Arts and Sciences’.
Jenner was elected to be a member of the esteemed ‘Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’, in 1806.
Edward succumbed to death on the 26th of January, 1823. The physician was seventy three years old at the time of his death. His body was laid to rest at the crematorium in the ‘Church of St. Mary’s’, Berkeley.
The health welfare organization ‘World Health Organization’, ‘WHO’, publicly declared in 1979, that the globe has been eradicated of the Smallpox epidemic.
According to a poll conducted by ‘BBC’ in 2002, Jenner was named one of the ‘100 Greatest Britons’ to have ever lived in the UK.