Lives of the fellows

William Dobinson Halliburton

b.21 June 1860 d.21 May 1931
BSc Lond(1879) MD(1883) Hon LLD Aberd Toronto FRCP(1892) FRS

William Halliburton was born in London, the only son of Thomas Halliburton of Upper Norwood and his wife Mary Homan. From University College School he went on to University College, London, where he graduated in 1879 as B.Sc. and in 1883 as M.B, afterwards acting as house physician in the Hospital. In the latter year he won the Sharpey scholarship and became assistant professor of physiology under Sharpey-Schafer. He was awarded the science research medal in 1885 and then paid a brief visit to Vienna. In these early years he lectured on physiology at the London School of Medicine for Women. In 1890 he left University College on being nominated to the chair of physiology at King’s, which he occupied for the next thirty-three years. As dean of the King’s medical faculty from 1901 to 1904, he proved his administrative ability at a period of difficulty and financial stress for the College.

It was as a physiologist, and particularly as an inspiring guide to his pupils and assistants, that Halliburton made his name familiar throughout the medical world. One of the founders of the science of biochemistry, he wrote a Textbook of Chemical Physiology and Pathology (1891), which was a landmark in its day. His Essentials of Chemical Physiology (1893) reached a thirteenth edition, edited by other hands, in 1936. But his most popular work was "Halliburton’s" Physiology (1896), the successor to "Kirkes’s" Physiology, which, under his authorship, was issued in nineteen editions before making way for "McDowall’s" Handbook of Physiology. At the Royal College of Physicians he was Goulstonian Lecturer (1893), Croonian Lecturer (1901), Oliver-Sharpey Lecturer (1907) and Baly Medallist (1911). Halliburton was a lucid and eloquent lecturer and a jovial, approachable figure, loved by his students. He married in 1886 Annie, daughter of James Dawes; they had no children. He died at Exeter.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1931; B.M.J., 1931; Lyle, 398; D.N.B., 1931-40, 391]

(Volume IV, page 356)

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