Sir James W. Black was a Scottish pharmacologist who won a share of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988. He developed the beta blocker, propranolol, which is used for the treatment of heart disease and also developed cimetidine, a H2 receptor antagonist, a drug to treat stomach ulcers. His discoveries are credited to have changed the practice of cardiology, and the drugs he developed are among the most prescribed in the world. The son of a mining engineer, he grew up to be a carefree and happy youth with no serious ambitions in life. As a teenager, he was persuaded into sitting for the competitive entrance examination for St Andrews University which he easily cleared, winning the Patrick Hamilton Residential Scholarship. He proceeded to study medicine and graduated with an MB ChB in 1946. However, he had no interest in practicing medicine and was more inclined towards academics and research. After spending a few years in Singapore, he joined the University of Glasgow (Veterinary School) in Scotland where he went on to establish the Physiology Department. Eventually he shifted to research and developed propranolol while working for ICI Pharmaceuticals. Another major drug, cimetidine, was developed during his stint at Smith, Kline and French. His pioneering work in drug development earned him several prestigious awards including the Lasker award and the Nobel Prize.