Ronald Ross


May 28, 2022

Sir Ronald Ross (May 13, 1857 - September 16, 1932) is an English physician. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1902 for discovering that malaria is spread by mosquitoes.


Ronald Ross was born on 13 May 1857 in Almora, then part of British India (now Uttarakhand, India), the first of ten children of General Sir Campbell Claye Grant Ross and his wife, Matilda Charlotte Elderton. At the age of eight, he was sent to England, where he lived with his uncle and aunt on the Isle of Wight. He completed his elementary school in Ryde and from 1869 was sent to a boarding school in Springhill near Southampton. He has been interested in literature, poetry, music and mathematics since childhood. He wanted to be a writer, but his father still enrolled him in medical school at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical College in London after high school. Ross wasn't particularly interested in college, spending most of his time composing, writing poems and plays. He passed his military medical examination in 1879 and then worked as a naval doctor on a steamboat embarking on a transatlantic voyage while preparing for his pharmacy examination. He managed to put this down for the second time, in 1881, and after a four-month preparation, he entered the Indian Medical Service the same year. Between June 1888 and May 1889, he traveled to England to obtain a qualification in public health and also attended a course in bacteriology.

Your career


From 1881 to 1894 he worked in various locations - Madras, Burma, Balochistan (now Pakistan), Andaman Islands, Bangalore, Secunderabad. In 1883, as a military doctor for the Bangalore garrison, he suggested that the number of mosquitoes could be reduced by reducing their access to water. In March 1894 he traveled to London on holiday with his family. Here he met an expert on tropical diseases and malaria, Sir Patrick Manson of Scotland, who then became Ross’s mentor and introduced him to the current problems of malaria research. Ross returned to India in March 1895, and without even waiting for the customs inspection of his luggage, he immediately hurried to a hospital in Bombay to take blood from malaria patients and make smears.

Discovering the mediator of malaria

In May 1895, Ross discovered an early-stage pathogen of malaria in a mosquito's stomach, but shortly afterwards he was sent to Bangalore to investigate a cholera epidemic; and there malaria did not occur regularly. In May 1896, he went on short leave to a nearby mountain, malaria-infested station, where, despite regular quinine collection, he was struck by a fever within three days. He was transferred to Secunderabad in June. After several unsuccessful attempts, in July 1897 he managed to breed twenty "brown" mosquitoes from the collected larvae and paid off a malaria patient to allow himself to be bitten by them. He then dissected the mosquitoes and found round bodies in their digestive system that he knew for sure did not belong to the mosquito. In August, he was able to identify the causative agent of malaria in the intestinal tract of a "spotted winged" mosquito (later identified as Anopheles). In September 1897 he was sent to Bombay and from there to malaria-free Rajasthan. Ross was frustrated that he could not continue his experiments, so he contacted Patrick Manson, who persuaded the colonial government to redirect Ross to Calcutta for "malaria and kala azar" research. A laboratory was made available in Calcutta, but many malaria patients could not be found and doctors began treating them immediately. He had a bungalow built in a nearby village, where he occasionally went