Russell Brain, 1st Baron Brain

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Russell Brain, 1st Baron Brain
Born Walter Russell Brain
(1895-10-23)23 October 1895
Died 29 December 1966(1966-12-29) (aged 71)
Institutions University of Oxford
Alma mater New College, Oxford
Known for Brain's reflex
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society[1]

Walter Russell Brain, 1st Baron Brain (23 October 1895 – 29 December 1966) was a British neurologist. He was principal author of the standard work of neurology, Brain's Diseases of the Nervous System, and longtime editor of the homonymous neurological medical journal titled Brain. He is also eponymised with "Brain's reflex", a reflex exhibited by humans when assuming the quadrupedian position.[1][2]

Career[edit]

Brain was educated at Mill Hill School and New College, Oxford, where he began to read history, but disliked it. The First World War having begun in 1914, the following year he joined the Friends' Ambulance Unit as an alternative to volunteering for combat, and was sent to York, moving later to the King George Hospital in London, attached to the X-ray department. On the introduction of conscription in 1916 his work enabled him to be exempted as a conscientious objector.

After the war he returned to New College, and studied medicine, obtaining his BM BCh in 1922 and a DM in 1925; he specialised in neurology. Apart from his clinical practice, he was a member on a large number of government committees pertaining to physical and mental health, and was involved in the care of Winston Churchill on the latter's deathbed in 1965.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1931 and was President of the College from 1950 to 1956.

He was knighted in 1952, made a baronet in 1954, and in 1962 created Baron Brain, of Eynsham in the County of Oxford. In March, 1964 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.[3]

Family[edit]

He married Stella Langdon-Down and had a daughter, Janet, and two sons, Christopher (b. 1926) and Michael (b. 1928). Christopher succeeded him as the 2nd Baron Brain. In 1954 Janet married Dr Leonard Arthur, tried for the murder of a baby in 1981 but acquitted.

Religious beliefs[edit]

He became a Quaker in 1931 and gave the Swarthmore Lecture in 1944, ‘Man, society and religion’, in which he stressed the importance of a social conscience.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pickering, G. W. (1968). "Walter Russell Brain First Baron Brain of Eynsham 1895-1966". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 14: 61–26. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1968.0004.  edit
  2. ^ "Brain, Walter Russell, first Baron Brain". The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32035.  edit
  3. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Soiety. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
The Lord Moran
President of the Royal College of Physicians
1950–1956
Succeeded by
Robert Platt
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Brain
1962–1966
Succeeded by
Christopher Brain
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baronet
(of Eynsham)
1954–1966
Succeeded by
Christopher Brain