The Physiological Society Honours Nobel Laureate John Boyd Orr with Blue Plaque


The legacy of John Boyd Orr - the first scientist to show that there was a link between poverty, poor diet and ill health, and is the founding father of modern nutrition sciences - has been celebrated with the unveiling of a blue plaque at the University of Glasgow.

John Boyd Orr was a prominent figure in the field of physiology, a Nobel Laureate (Peace Prize) winner, and also alumni, Chancellor and Rector of the University of Glasgow.

The plaque was unveiled by Professor Godfrey Smith, Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology and Director of Innovation, Engagement and Enterprise, at the ceremony hosted by The Physiological Society. This prestigious honour serves to memorialise Boyd Orr’s outstanding contributions to science and humanity, further enshrining his legacy in the fabric of the university where his career blossomed.

An exceptional line-up of speakers from the University paid tribute to Boyd Orr’s enduring impact on physiology and nutrition science during the ceremony. Professor Ronald Baxendale, Dr Stuart Gray and Dr Ada Garcia talked about Boyd Orr’s research and its current implications linking diet and health.

John Boyd Orr, born in Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, in 1880, made significant contributions to the understanding of nutrition and its effects on human health. His visionary work earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949 for his advocacy of improved nutrition as a pathway to world peace. As a University of Glasgow alumnus, his endeavours have left an indelible mark on the institution and paved the way for research endeavours such as the Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health.

Students, faculty and the general public joined in the celebration of this remarkable figure in physiology and took part in the unveiling of a fitting tribute to his outstanding achievements.

Professor Godfrey Smith, Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology, School of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health, University of Glasgow, said: "I’m delighted to honour one of the University of Glasgow’s most distinguished alumni, John Boyd Orr, who made vital links between human physiology and nutrition and laid important groundwork for improving human health."

Professor David Attwell, President of the Physiological Society, said: "We are honoured to be in Glasgow to unveil this plaque to remember John Boyd Orr. He was the first scientist to find the link between poverty, poor diet and ill-health and his legacy on nutrition has transformed our understanding of the relationship between diet and health.

"The Physiological Society’s Blue Plaque scheme raises the visibility of physiology and gives the wider public an insight into the positive role that ’the science of life’ plays in their everyday lives. We hope that these plaques will spark curiosity and help inspire new generations to get involved in the physiological sciences."

The Physiological Society, a professional body dedicated to promoting the study of physiology, organised this historic event to honour Boyd Orr’s pioneering spirit. The blue plaque serves as an enduring symbol of his profound impact on science and society at large.