Nobel Prize-winning scientist dies

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The Independent Online

Sir James Black, the Scottish Nobel Prize winner and inventor of beta blockers, which has since been described as one of the most important contributions to clinical medicine of the 20th century, has died. He was 85.

Sir James Black received the Nobel prize for medicine in 1988 for beta blockers, an adrenaline receptor-blocking drug used to treat heart disease. The drugs are used for the management of irregular heartbeat, protection following heart attacks and treatment of hypertension. He also made significant discoveries in the development of drugs to treat heartburn and ulcers.

During his career he spent time at St Andrews and Glasgow Universities, and University College and King’s College inLondon. He also worked for ICI Pharmaceuticals, Smith, Kline and French and the Wellcome Foundation. In addition, he became Chancellor of Dundee University and in 2006 the university built the Sir James Black Centre, a research facility, in his honour. Yesterday, Professor Peter Downes, the university’s principal and vice-chancellor, said he served the university with “commitment, wisdom, grace and distinction”.

He was knighted in 1981 and was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1988. His funeral will be held in London next week.