Robert Whytt (1714-1766)

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Robert Whytt was born in Edinburgh on 6 September 1714. He studied at St. Andrews University where he was awarded an M.A. in 1730, then he studied medicine at Edinburgh University. In 1734 he went to London to study and also attended lectures in Paris and Leiden. In 1736 he took the degree of M.D. at Rheims and in 1737 received a similar one from St. Andrews. In 1738 he became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and began practising as a physician. In 1747, Whytt was appointed Professor of the Theory of Medicine at Edinburgh University, and in 1756 he also gave lectures on chemistry in place of Professor John Rutherford (1695-1779). His publications include On the virtues of lime-water in the cure of stone (1743), On the vital and other involuntary motions of animals (1751), and On nervous, hypochondriac, or hysteric diseases, to which are prefixed some remarks on the sympathy of the nerves (1764). In 1761 he was made the first Physician to the King in Scotland, and in 1763 he was elected President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Professor Robert Whytt died in Edinburgh on 15 April 1766 and was succeeded in the Chair by William Cullen (1710-1790).