Aesculapius. In Greek mythology, the god of medicine, son of Apollo and Coronis, student of Chiron the centaur, Unfortunately he brought a dead man to life, which angered Zeus, who killed him with a thunderbolt. The staff and snake, or caduceus, is believed to be the sign of Aesculapius. The Hippocratic oath begins by invoking Apollo and Aesculapius.

Avicenna. 980–1037. Arab physician, wrote several books including what is known as the Canon of Medicine. More properly called Ibn Sina.

Banting, Sir Frederick Grant. 1891–1941. Canadian physician, discovered (with Charles Best) the hormone insulin (1921). Shared the 1923 Nobel prize for medicine with J Macleod. Banting acknowledged the contribution of Charles Best by sharing the award with him.

Best, Charles H. 1899-1978. Canadian physiologist, and discoverer of insulin with Banting.

Celsus. 1st century AD. Greek historian, published an encyclopedia, and described the signs of inflammation. He said surgeons should be youthful, have a steady hand, should be filled with pity, but should be free of emotion.

Edwin Smith papyrus. c 1600BC. One of the earliest documented medical treatises. The Edwin Smith papyrus describes a series of 48 cases , mostly of wounds. This was the time of Hammurabi, according to whose code one was allowed to practise on slaves!

Fleming, Sir Alexander. 1881–1955. Scottish microbiologist. Best known for his discovery of penicilllin (1928). Shared the 1945 Nobel prize for medicine with Florey and Chain.

Galen 1st century AD. Greek physician. Claimed that diseases were due to yellow bile, black bile, blood, phlegm. He describe the principles of surgery

Harvey, William. 1578–1657. English physician and anatomist. Described the circulation of the blood. Wrote Exercitatio de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus.

Hippocrates c 500 BC. Greek physician. He laid down a code of conduct for doctors. He wrote books describing fractures and dislocations, bandaging and various diseases. The Hippocratic oath is traditionally read by all doctors when they complete their medical training.

Hunter, John 1728-93,Scottish surgeon. Often called the father of modern surgery, Started as apprentice to his brother who was giving private anatomy lessons to London surgeons. He collected a large museum of specimens. With Hunter, surgery became a science. Described ligation of aneurysms, wrote books, and transplanted a spur to the head of a cock. His book "Treatise on the blood, inflammation and gun-shot wounds" was published a year after his death. Did major work on venereal disease.

Koch, Robert. 1843-1910. German physician and bacteriologist.Isolated the anthrax bacillus, and later the tubercle bacillus, and produced tuberculin, which is used in the Mantoux skin test for tuberculosis. Awarded 1905 Nobel prize for medicine.

Pare, Ambrose 1510-1590. French surgeon. Born in 1510 in Maine, France (check!). He began his education as an apprentice to a barber-surgeon. Later he went to Hotel-Dieu, where learnt anatomy and physiology. Said "I dress he heals." Served 4 kings. In military wounds used egg yolk, oil, instead of boiling oil. Wounds dressed by him healed better.

Pasteur, Louis. 1822-95. French chemist. Investigated fermentation of wines, and conducted experiments that disproved the theory of spontaneous generation of organisms. Discovered the first vaccine for rabies.

Sushruta c 500 BC. Indian surgeon. Performed plastic surgery, and described about 100 instruments. Described a method of reconstructing the nose using a leaf as a template. His method of treatment of fistula in ano has been resurrected with remarkable results.

Vesalius, Andreas. 1514–64. Belgian anatomist.