Prof Mark Jackson

`Endocrinology’ by Marian Dale Scott (1906-93)

The Think-Tank seminar series

Visualising stress: Marian Dale Scott, Hans Selye and the biochemistry of life


Professor Mark Jackson, Centre for Medical History

Date and time

12:00 -13:00, 14 June 2013


On 26 June 1943, the Canadian artist Marian Dale Scott (1906-93) formally unveiled a mural that she had painted on the walls of a newly created conference and reading room in the Department of Histology at McGill University.  Measuring 12 by 16 feet and entitled `Endocrinology’, the mural represented the culmination of an intense two-year collaboration between Scott and Hans Selye (1907-82), during which time Scott had immersed herself in the anatomical, histological and biochemical contours of stress research and acquainted herself with the principal motifs of scientific investigation.  Historically, the painting’s significance extends beyond the merely local; it also encapsulates the aspirations, as well as the anxieties, of a generation of researchers interested in tracing the chemical pathways involved in physiological reactions to the stress of life, highlights points of articulation between the laboratory and the clinic, and testifies to the evolving inter-penetration of scientific and popular understandings of stress and disease.  This talk will analyse and contextualise the mural.