William Bayliss

Sir William Maddock Bayliss FRS (2 May 1860 – 27 August 1924) was an English physiologist.[1]

Sir William Bayliss
William Bayliss 1918b
William Bayliss in 1918
John William Maddock Bayliss

2 May 1860
Died27 August 1924 (aged 64)
Alma materUniversity College London
Oxford University
Known forSecretin
AwardsRoyal Medal, 1911
Copley Medal, 1919
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity College London
William Bayliss 1878
William Bayliss in 1878, aged only 18


He was born in Wednesbury, Staffordshire[2][3] but shortly thereafter his father, a successful merchant of ornamental ironwork, moved to a large property in London. William was his sole heir.[4] He began to study medicine at University College London in 1880, but dropped out when he failed anatomy.[5] Attracted to physiology, he studied under John Burdon Sanderson at Wadham College, Oxford, where he won a first class degree, investigating electrical changes occurring during salivary secretion. He returned to University College London in 1888 as an assistant to Edward Sharpey-Schafer. In 1890 he began to collaborate with Ernest Starling, who was at Guy's Hospital, on the electrical activity of the heart. They complemented one-another in many ways: for instance, Bayliss dealt with the recording apparatus while Starling worked with the preparation.

Bayliss married Starling's sister Gertrude in 1893; they had three sons and one daughter. They enjoyed entertaining at their London estate, even hosting all those attending London meetings of the Physiological Society. He built a laboratory in a corrugated iron shed in his four acre garden.

He and Starling first studied pressures in the veins and capillaries, but in 1897 they radically changed direction to work on the control of the motility of the gut.[6] Collaboration became easier when Starling moved to University College London as the Jodrell Chair of Physiology in 1899. It was known that injecting hydrochloric acid into the intestinal lumen evoked secretion by the pancreas; injection into the blood did not. They set out to determine which nerves were involved, but denervation did not block the response. In a flash of inspiration they ground up a sample of intestinal mucosa in sand containing hydrochloric acid; injecting the filtered extract elicited copious pancreatic secretion.[7] They called the responsible chemical secretin and named such messenger chemicals hormones. A "discovery must, as it seems to me, ever rank as one of the landmarks of physiology—-the discovery not merely of a new thing, but of a new process of life".[8]

In 1903 he was demonstrating to the medical students an experiment on an anesthetized dog. Two visiting Swedish ladies believed that the anesthesia was insufficient and reported this to Stephen Coleridge, secretary of the anti-vivisectionist, his charges of torture were widely reported in the newspapers. The wealthy Bayliss had the resources to demand an apology, and when this was denied to sue for libel. The trial in the Brown Dog affair filled the newspapers, the jury found for Bayliss.

Bayliss then studied the circulation of the brain and the action of enzymes, he was a founder of the Biochemical Society. In 1912 a Professorship in General Physiology was created for him at University College London.

During the first years of World War I Starling was in the army, so Bayliss taught physiology and served on the Royal Society Food (War) Committee.[9] In 1916 he presented a paper on wound shock.[10] It was known that in shock blood volume is decreased, even when the patient has not bled. This loss of blood causes the fall in blood pressure, because the heart has less less blood to pump. This fall in blood pressure is responsible for the symptoms of shock. If blood volume is restored by injecting a salt solution then blood pressure rises, but only transitionally. Intravenous salt solutions had not helped men shocked during the Battle of the Somme. Using cats Bayliss demonstrated that if the salt solution contains five percent gelatin or gum arabic the rise in blood pressure is sustained and shock is alleviated. The explanation had been revealed earlier by Starling: molecules too large to escape from the blood plasma while it passes through the capillaries generate the osmotic pressure needed to pull fluid from the extracellular fluid back into the circulation (although Bayliss suggested they might act by increasing blood viscosity). In November 1917 gum-saline was infused into wound shocked men who recovered. However, it was March 1918 before gum-saline was shipped to the front. No record was kept of how many were treated. The Germans adopted gum-saline, also without recording their results. Bayliss summarized this work in a book.[11]

In 1919 he published Principles of General Physiology, which he defined as those processes common to all living things.[12] This influential book was "a revelation of the personality of the writer." [13] It went through four editions and was revised after his death by his son Leonard and AV Hill, the fifth edition appearing in 1959-1960.

An obituary noted that "His quiet generosity, his kindliness, his self-effacing modesty and his simple goodness endeared him to all his fellow physiologists" [14] Another pointed out that Bayliss loved to have young physiologists about him and they loved his company because "His knowledge, though exhaustive, was never overbearing, and his genius was never frightening — probably because his mind did not work rapidly." [15]

Honours and awards

Bayliss was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 1903.[16] He jointly delivered their Croonian lecture in 1904 and was awarded their Royal Medal in 1911 and their Copley Medal in 1919.

He was knighted for his contribution to medicine in 1922.


Bayliss died in London in 1924.

The Bayliss and Starling Society was founded in 1979 as a forum for scientists with research interests in central and autonomic peptide function.


His son, Dr Leonard Ernest Bayliss FRSE (1901-1964) was also a physiologist.[17] who continued the family tradition of writing physiology textbooks.[18]

See also


  1. ^ "Bayliss, William Maddock". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 114.
  2. ^ 1911 England Census
  3. ^ England, Oxford Men and Their Colleges, 1880-1892
  4. ^ Henderson, John (2005). A life of Ernest Starling. Oxford University Press. pp. 20–23.
  5. ^ E, M, Tansey (2004). "Sir William Maddock Bayliss (1860-1924).". In Matthew, H. G. C.; Harrison, Brian (eds.). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Henderson 2005, pp. 46-49.
  7. ^ Henderson 2005, pp.54-58.
  8. ^ J. B. [Joseph Barcroft] (1926). "Sir William Maddock Bayliss". Proc Roy Soc B. 99: xxix.
  9. ^ Bayliss, W. M. (1917). The physiology of food and economy in diet. London: Longmans, Green & Co.
  10. ^ Van der Kloot, William (2010). "William Maddock Bayliss's therapy for wound shock". Not. Rec. Roy. Soc, Lond. 64: 271–286.
  11. ^ Bayliss, W. M. (1919). Intravenous Injection in Wound Shock. London: Longmans, Green.
  12. ^ Bayliss, William Maddock (1918). Principles of general physiology. London: Longmans Green & Co.
  13. ^ "Sir W. M. Bayliss.; a Great English Physiologist". The Times. 28 August 1924. p. 12.
  14. ^ J. B. 1926, p. xxxii.
  15. ^ J.B. 1926, xxx
  16. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Former Fellows of The Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783 – 2002" (PDF). p. 66. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  18. ^ Winton, Frank Robert; Bayliss, Leonard Ernest (1930). Human physiology. London: J. & A. Churchill. p. 583.


  • Zárate, Arturo; Saucedo, Renata (2005), "[On the centennial of hormones. A tribute to Ernest H. Starling and William M. Bayliss]", Gaceta médica de México, 141 (5), pp. 437–9, PMID 16353891
  • Hirst, Barry H (2004), "Secretin and the exposition of hormonal control", J. Physiol. (published 15 October 2004), 560 (Pt 2), p. 339, doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2004.073056, PMC 1665254, PMID 15308687
  • Modlin, I M; Kidd, M (2001), "Ernest Starling and the discovery of secretin", J. Clin. Gastroenterol. (published March 2001), 32 (3), pp. 187–92, doi:10.1097/00004836-200103000-00001, PMID 11246341
  • Modlin, I M; Kidd, M; Farhadi, J (2000), "Bayliss and Starling and the nascence of endocrinology", Regul. Pept. (published 25 September 2000), 93 (1–3), pp. 109–23, doi:10.1016/S0167-0115(00)00182-8, PMID 11033058
  • Svatos, J; Svatos, A (1999), "The divergence in the conception of Pavlov and Bayliss-Starling concerning the function of the nervous system", Ceskoslovenská fysiologie / Ústrední ústav biologický (published February 1999), 48 (1), pp. 22–6, PMID 10377602
  • Folkow, B (1989), "Myogenic mechanisms in the control of systemic resistance. Introduction and historical background", Journal of hypertension. Supplement : official journal of the International Society of Hypertension (published September 1989), 7 (4), pp. S1–4, PMID 2681587
  • Simmer, H H (1978), "[The discovery and the discoverers of secretin. A contribution to the history of science and to the typology of the scientist]", Die Medizinische Welt (published 15 December 1978), 29 (50), pp. 1991–6, PMID 364247
  • Hill, A V (1969), "Bayliss and Starling and the happy fellowship of physiologists", J. Physiol. (published September 1969), 204 (1), pp. 1–13, doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1969.sp008894, PMC 1351589, PMID 4900770
  • Bayliss, L E (1961), "William Maddock BAYLISS, 1860–1924: life and scientific work", Perspect. Biol. Med., 4, pp. 460–79, doi:10.1353/pbm.1961.0025, PMID 13688118

External links

1860 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1860 in the United Kingdom.

1902 in science

The year 1902 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.


Bayliss is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Adam Bayliss, film producer

Alfred Bayliss, American educational administrator

Brendan Bayliss, musician

David Bayliss, footballer

Edward Bayliss, cricketer

Garland Bayliss, American historian and university administrator

George Bayliss, Australian Rules footballer

John Bayliss, poet and editor

Jonah Bayliss, baseball player

Jonathan Bayliss, novelist and playwright

Lisa Bayliss, field hockey player

Mark Bayliss, Australian Rules footballer

Peter Bayliss, English actor

Richard Bayliss, English medical doctor and Physician to the Queen

Simon Bayliss, musician

Trevor Bayliss, Australian cricketer

Troy Bayliss, motorcycle racer

William Bayliss, physiologist

Wyke Bayliss, painter, author, and poet

Bayliss Levrett, racing driver

Lilybella Bayliss, British ActressFictional charactersJim Bayliss/Sue Bayliss, in All My Sons

Tim Bayliss, a fictional character in TV show Homicide: Life on the Street

Bayliss and Starling Society

The Bayliss and Starling Society was founded in 1979 as a forum for research scientists with specific interests in the chemistry, physiology and function of central and autonomic peptides.

The society was named in honour of William Bayliss and Ernest Starling, who discovered the gastrointestinal peptide secretin in 1902 and coined the term hormone in 1905.

The society's main objective was to "advance education and science by the promotion, for the benefit of the public, the study of the chemistry, physiology and disorders of central and peripheral regulating peptides and by the dissemination of the results of such study and research." In doing so, the Society promoted research into peptides and facilitated scientists with research interests in peptides by aiding in the organisation of symposia and relevant conferences.

Additionally the Society offered the John Calam Travelling Fellowship Award for members who wanted to attend national and international academic conferences or visit laboratories to gain experience in new techniques to facilitate their research.

The Bayliss and Starling Society merged with The Physiological Society in 2014.

Bill Bayliss

William Bayliss (19 December 1886 – 12 February 1963) was a British trade unionist.

Born in Leicestershire, Bayliss left school at the age of twelve to work at a colliery. He joined the Leicestershire Miners' Association, but after becoming involved in industrial action, he was sacked and, a year later, moved to Nottinghamshire to find work. There, he became active in the Nottinghamshire Miners' Association, and also in the Labour Party.Bayliss became his union branch delegate in 1915, and served a year as vice-president of the union in 1927, and a year as president in 1929. In 1932, he became the union's full-time financial secretary. In this role he worked with Herbert Booth to promote reunification with the rival Nottinghamshire Miners' Industrial Union, which was achieved in 1937, whereupon he became an agent for the merged Nottinghamshire Miners' Federated Union (NMFU).

In 1943, Bayliss was chosen as one of the Trades Union Congress' two representatives to the American Federation of Labour.Bayliss was elected to Nottinghamshire County Council, becoming an alderman, and serving as its chairman from 1945. In 1946, he was elected as President of the Nottinghamshire Area of the National Union of Mineworkers, successor of the NMFU; he served until 1952, when he retired and joined the National Coal Board.

Brown Dog affair

The Brown Dog affair was a political controversy about vivisection which raged in England from 1903 until 1910. It involved the infiltration of University of London medical lectures by Swedish feminists, pitched battles between medical students and the police, police protection for the statue of a dog, a libel trial at the Royal Courts of Justice, and the establishment of a Royal Commission to investigate the use of animals in experiments. The affair became a cause célèbre which divided the country.The controversy was triggered by allegations that William Bayliss of the Department of Physiology at University College London performed an illegal vivisection in February 1903 before an audience of 60 medical students on a brown terrier dog. The dog was adequately anaesthetized according to Bayliss and his team, but it was conscious and struggling according to the Swedish activists. The procedure was condemned as cruel and unlawful by the National Anti-Vivisection Society. Bayliss's research on dogs led to the discovery of hormones, and he was outraged by the assault on his reputation. He sued for libel and won.Anti-vivisectionists commissioned a bronze statue of the dog as a memorial, unveiled on the Latchmere Recreation Ground in Battersea in 1906, but medical students were angered by its provocative plaque: "Men and women of England, how long shall these Things be?" This led to frequent vandalism of the memorial and the need for a 24-hour police guard against the so-called anti-doggers. On 10 December 1907, 1,000 medical students marched through central London waving effigies of the brown dog on sticks and clashing with suffragettes, trade unionists, and 400 police officers, one of a series of battles known as the Brown Dog riots.Battersea Council sent four workers accompanied by 120 police officers to remove the statue under cover of darkness in March 1910, after which it was reportedly melted down by the council's blacksmith—despite a 20,000-strong petition in its favour. A new statue of the brown dog was erected in Battersea Park in 1985, commissioned by anti-vivisection groups. According to Peter Mason in 1997, all that was left of the old statue was a hump in the pavement, the sign on a nearby fence reading "No Dogs".

Ernest Starling

Ernest Henry Starling (17 April 1866 – 2 May 1927) was a British physiologist who contributed many fundamental ideas to this subject. These ideas were important parts of the British contribution to physiology, which at that time led the world.

He made at least four significant contributions: 1. In the capillary water is forced out through the pores in the wall by hydrostatic pressure and driven in by the osmotic pressure of plasma proteins. These opposing forces approximately balance; which is known as Starling's Principle. 2. The discovery of the hormone secretin — with his brother-in-law William Bayliss — and the introduction of the word hormone. 3. The analysis of the heart's activity as a pump, which is known as the Frank–Starling law. 4. Several fundamental observations on the action of the kidneys. These include evidence for the existence of vasopressin, the anti-diuretic hormone. He also wrote the leading textbook of physiology in English, which ran through 20 editions.


Neurogastroenterology encompasses the study of the brain, the gut, and their interactions with relevance to the understanding and management of gastrointestinal motility and functional gastrointestinal disorders. Specifically, neurogastroenterology focuses on the functions, malfunctions, and the malformations of the sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric divisions of the digestive tract.

Perry (car)

The Perry was a British car made by the Perry Motor Company based in Tyseley, Birmingham who made cars between 1913 and 1916.

Stephen Coleridge

Hon. Stephen William Buchanan Coleridge (May 31, 1854 - April 10, 1936) was an English author, barrister, opponent of vivisection, and co-founder of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Coleridge was the second son of John Duke Coleridge, Lord Chief Justice of England, and Jane Fortescue Seymour, an accomplished artist. His grandfather was nephew to the famous poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. At fourteen he was sent to the public school Bradfield College; this seems to have rankled since his father, grandfather and elder brother were all educated at the more prestigious Eton. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge where he graduated in 1878.

Coleridge came to widespread public attention in England in 1903, when he publicly accused William Bayliss of the Department of Physiology at University College London of having broken the law during an experiment on a dog, thereby sparking the Brown Dog affair. Bayliss sued for libel and was awarded damages of £2,000.


W (named double-u, plural double-ues) is the 23rd letter of the modern English and ISO basic Latin alphabets.

Recipients of the Copley Medal (1901–1950)

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.