Nobel Prize winner James Black dies

Sir James Whyte Black, the Scottish scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for the invention of propranolol, has died at the age of 85 after a long illness.

Sir James’ invention of the beta blocker drug propranolol is considered one of the major breakthroughs in pharmacology in the 20th century and, ultimately, led to hundreds of thousands of lives being saved among patients suffering from heart disease. Sir James also made important discoveries in the development of drugs to treat heartburn and ulcers.

Sir James' contribution to science was recognized at the highest level in 1988 when he was awarded (jointly) the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. In 2000, he was awarded the Order of Merit by HM The Queen – the highest honour that can be bestowed on an individual personally by The Queen.

During his memorable career, Sir James’ workplaces included the University of St Andrews, the University of Malaya, the University of Glasgow, ICI Pharmaceuticals and the Wellcome Foundation. He also spent time as the professor of pharmacology at both University College London and King’s College London.

Sir James served as the Chancellor of the University of Dundee between 1992 and 2006. His former colleague Professor Pete Downes, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: ‘During his time as Chancellor he served the University with commitment, wisdom, grace and distinction. He was a great scientist, who took a keen interest in the development of our research here at Dundee, but he was also a great man to know.

'He inspired so many people from students to senior academics and industrialists, right up until the last few months of his life. I am personally proud and immensely fortunate to have known him for many years.'

Share this article

More services


This article is featured in:
Companies and People


Comment on this article

You must be registered and logged in to leave a comment about this article.