Neil Papworth

Neil Papworth sent the first ever text message in 1991 when working as a technician. The message red “Merry Christmas”.

M. Sterne, Gladys Trim November 1970, Journal of Medical Microbiology 3: 649-654

Gladys Trim

Gladys Trim (1915-?) started work in the Veterinary Department at the Wellcome Laboratories aged 15. Initially she was not doing technical work but helping other
women in the office with the filing. After 42 years she had worked her way up to senior technician with her name included on several publications.

Dennis Busby, 1969 & 2013 (Archives of the NIMR at Mill Hill and Mr Busby)

Den Busby

Den Busby (1919-?) worked at the National Institute for Medical Research from the age of 15. He started work there in 1934 so his career spanned a time of great change for science technicians with improving conditions and a breaking down of old social barriers in the laboratory.

Caroline Herschel (1750-1848)

Caroline Herschel: technician to the stars

Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) was an assistant to her brother William Herschel and a successful comet hunter in her own right. She was the first salaried female in the history of astronomy.

Michael Faraday in his late thirties

Michael Faraday

Michael Faraday (1791-1867) apprenticed to a book binder aged 14 he went on to become an assistant to Humphry Davy and eventually one of the greatest scientific discoverers of all time.

Flamsteed House Greenwich (National Maritime Museum)

Margaret Flamsteed

Margaret Flamsteed (c. 1670-1730) was wife and assistant to John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal. Without her his greatest achievements would never have been published.

Old Ashmolean 1685

Christopher White

Christopher White (c.1650-1695?) was the first professional laboratory technician. Working in Oxford he was apothecary, alchemist, experimenter, teacher, and demonstrator.

Freda Collier

Freda Collier

Freda Collier (1916-2013) worked with Rosalind Franklin as her x-ray photographer and most likely took the famous “photo 51”, an image that inspired the solution to the structure of DNA.

Denis Papin – a technician under pressure

Denis Papin (1647-1712) fleeing religious persecution in France he found work in London with Robert Boyle and at the Royal Society. He is the forgotten inventor of the pressure cooker and the first practical steam engine.