Max Hamilton

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Max Hamilton (12 april 1912 – 9 september 1988) was born at Offenbach am Main, Germany. He migrated to England with his family (named Himmelschein) in 1914, aged 1 1/2 years old. He was educated at the Central Foundation Boys' School[1] in Cowper Street and went on to study medicine at University College Hospital, London. Having worked for a time as a GP, he served as a medical officer in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Having gained the DPM in 1945, Hamilton began his training as a psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital, London where, reputedly, he had difficulties with the rigid establishment.

He returned to University College Hospital as a part-time lecturer from 1945-1947 where he worked under the influence of Sir Cyril Burt who recognized Hamilton's mathematical talent and advised him to train in medical statistics. In the event, Hamilton became an innovative statistician and by the late 1940s (years before Kayser in the USA), he had already suggested that factors (in factor analysis) should be rotated.[2]

He went on to work as senior registrar to Dennis Hill at King's College Hospital (from where he submitted his MD thesis on the personalities of patients with dyspepsia) and for 2 year at Tooting Bec Hospital, in the diminished position of senior hospital medical officer. In 1953, Hamilton was appointed senior lecturer in psychiatry at the University of Leeds.

In 1959 and 1960 he published the Hamilton Anxiety[3] and Hamilton Depression[4] Rating Scales.[5]

After working for two years as a visiting scientist at the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA, he became a member of the external staff of the Medical Research Council and in 1963 succeeded G. R. Hargreaves in the Leeds Chair of Psychiatry, a post he held until his retirement in 1977

He was one of the first to introduce psychometrics into psychiatry and to convince a then rather incredulous profession that psychiatric research had to be based on measurement and statistical analysis. He was the Foundation President of the British Association for Psychopharmacology, an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and one of the few psychiatrists Presidents of the British Psychological Society. In 1980 he received, from the American Psychopathological Association, the coveted Paul Hoch prize for distinguished psychiatric research.

He died in 1988, just two months before he was due to deliver the Maudsley Lecture. He was survived by his wife, Doreen, their son and two daughters, and two sons from his first marriage. As a hobby he photographed flowers, specially narcissi, and to combat his chronic insomnia he loved to dragoon some of his brighter lecturers to spend long evenings working out statistical formulae on an old school blackboard.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Alumni". Central Foundation Boys' School. 2013. Retrieved 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ Berrios G E & Bulbena A (2010) The Hamilton Depression Scale and the numerical description of the symptoms of depression. In Bech P and Coppen A (eds) The Hamilton Scales. Berlin, Springer, pp. 80-92
  3. ^ Hamilton M.The assessment of anxiety states by rating. Br J Med Psychol 1959; 32:50–55.
  4. ^ Hamilton, M (1960). "A rating scale for depression". Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. 23: 56–62. PMC 495331Freely accessible. PMID 14399272. doi:10.1136/jnnp.23.1.56. 
  5. ^ Berrios G E & Bulbena A (2010) The Hamilton Depression Scale and the numerical description of the symptoms of depression. In Bech P and Coppen A (eds) The Hamilton Scales. Berlin, Springer, pp. 80-92