Sir Sydney Smith’s contribution to the change of the medical detective’s working style from the ‘lone expert’ to ‘a team of scientists’ in early twentieth century England and Scotland
Sir Sydney Smith was a well‐respected forensic pathologist in Britain during the twentieth century. While there is some secondary literature on Smith, it does not examine him and his various interesting cases in detail. Furthermore, few historians attempted to compare the English and the Scottish traditions of forensic medicine, or medical jurisprudence. Consequently, the effects of these different traditions on the medical experts who assisted in crime investigations have not been fully appreciated. This dissertation adds to the existing literature on the history of forensic medicine and forensic science by comparing the English and the Scottish traditions of medical jurisprudence and tracing their influences on British experts of the early twentieth century. The contention that English medical experts tended to be self‐reliant, while their Scottish equivalents were more willing to collaborate with each other as a result of their different environment, is made in this dissertation. This illustrates the background to Smith’s career as a medical detective. A further argument in this dissertation is that Smith was a transitional figure who encouraged his fellow medical detectives to break away from being completely self‐reliant to undertake collaborative work with other scientific experts. He did this through the way he participated in his major cases and the way he taught future generations of medical experts. Various sources such as Smith’s textbooks and journal articles were used to contextualise his autobiography and demonstrate his contribution to the gradual adoption of a team approach by British scientists in an objective way.
SubjectsField of Research::11 - Medical and Health Sciences
- Arts: Reports