World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Michael Foster (physiologist)

Article Id: WHEBN0000334596
Reproduction Date:

Title: Michael Foster (physiologist)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: London University (UK Parliament constituency), Iris hookeriana, Thomas Henry Huxley, Charles Scott Sherrington, The Physiological Society
Collection: 1836 Births, 1907 Deaths, Academics of University College London, Alumni of the University of London, English Agnostics, English Physiologists, Fellows of the Royal Society, Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge, Fullerian Professors of Physiology, Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath, Liberal Party (Uk) Mps, Liberal Unionist Party Mps, Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for English Constituencies, Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for University Constituencies, People Educated at University College School, People from Huntingdon, Presidents of the British Science Association, Uk Mps 1895–1900, Uk Mps 1900–06
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Michael Foster (physiologist)

Sir Michael Foster
Michael Foster
Born (1836-03-08)8 March 1836
Huntingdon, England
Died 29 January 1907(1907-01-29) (aged 70)
London, England
Nationality British
Fields Physiologist
Institutions University College London
University of Cambridge
Alma mater University College School
Academic advisors Thomas Henry Huxley
William Sharpey
Notable students John Newport Langley
Charles Scott Sherrington
Known for Textbook of Physiology (1876)
Influenced Henry Newell Martin
Keith Lucas

Sir Michael Foster, KCB, DCL, MD (8 March 1836 – 29 January 1907) was an English physiologist.[1]


  • Biography 1
  • Career 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4
  • External links 5


He was born in Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire, and educated at University College School, London. After graduating in medicine in 1859, he began to practise in his native town, but in 1867 he returned to London as teacher of practical physiology at University College London, where two years afterwards he became professor. In 1870 he was appointed by Trinity College, Cambridge, to its praelectorship in physiology, and thirteen years later he became the first occupant of the newly created chair of physiology in the university, holding it till 1903.[2] One of his most famous students at Cambridge was Charles Scott Sherrington who went on to win the Nobel Prize in 1932.


Sir Michael Foster by John Collier

He excelled as a teacher and administrator, and had a very large share in the organization and development of the Cambridge biological school. From 1881 to 1903 he was one of the secretaries of the Royal Society, and in that capacity exercised a wide influence on the study of biology in Britain. In the 1899 Birthday Honours, he was created KCB,[3] and served as president of the British Association at its meeting at Dover in September 1899.

In the 1900 general election, he was elected to represent the University of London in parliament.[4] Though returned as a Unionist, his political action was not to be dictated by party considerations, and he gravitated towards Liberalism; but he played no prominent part in parliament and at the election of 1906 was defeated.

He was joint editor with E. Ray Lankester of The Scientific Memoirs of Thomas Henry Huxley.[5] His chief writings were a Textbook of Physiology (1876), which became a standard work, and Lectures on the History of Physiology during the 16th, 17th and 18th Centuries (1901), which consisted of lectures delivered at the Cooper Medical College, San Francisco, in 1900. He died suddenly in London.

Foster was also the binomial author of many iris species.[6]

One of many irises he introduced includes Iris lineata Foster ex Regel[7][8] (or A.Regel),[9] which was originally described and published in Gartenflora (1887),[7] and later cited in Curtis's Botanical Magazine (1888).[9]

Iris fosteriana was named in 1881, after Sir Michael Foster by Dr Aitchison, and found in Pendjeh, Turkmenistan.[11][12]


  1. ^ "Foster, Sir Michael". Who's Who, 59: p. 626. 1907. 
  2. ^ "Foster, Michael (FSTR870M)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ The Edinburgh Gazette: no. 11101. p. 589. 13 June 1899. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27244. p. 6772. 6 November 1900. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
  5. ^ Addison, Henry Robert; Oakes, Charles Henry; Lawson, William John; Sladen, Douglas Brooke Wheelton (1907). "FOSTER, Sir Michael". Who's Who, 59: 626. 
  6. ^ "Hybridizer Sir Michael Foster". 18 May 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Iris lineata was originally described and published in Gartenflora XXXXVI. (1887) 201, t. 1244. Regel"ex Foster Iris lineata"Name – . Tropicos.  
  8. ^ Regel"ex Foster Iris lineata"Plant Name Details for . IPNI. Retrieved 15 March 2013. 
  9. ^ a b  
  10. ^ "'"Author Query for 'Foster.  
  11. ^ Foster, Michael (1945). "Bulbous Irises". Forgotten Books. p. 44-45. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Ray Desmond (25 Feb 1994) Dictionary Of British And Irish Botantists And Horticulturalists Including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers, p. 258, at Google Books


  • Hawgood, Barbara J (2008). "Sir Michael Foster MD FRS (1836–1907): the rise of the British school of physiology".  

External links

  • Biography and bibliography in the Virtual Laboratory of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Michael Foster
  • History of Physiology during the Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Cambridge U. Press. 1901. 
  • Obituary in The Journal of Physiology
  • Photograph of Sir Michael's residence, Nine Wells House, Great Shelford. This house used to have an extensive iris garden planted by Sir Michael, but the iris garden was lost during WW II.
  • Sir Michael Foster works @Google Books
Academic offices
Preceded by
Thomas Henry Huxley
Fullerian Professor of Physiology
Succeeded by
William Rutherford
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir John Lubbock
Member of Parliament for London University
Succeeded by
Sir Philip Magnus
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from National Public Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.