1924 – 1993
Davidson Nicol was born on September 14th 1924 in Freetown,Sierra Leone, Africa. His father was a
pharmacist who worked in Sierra Leone and Nigeria. His father’s science books fascinated Davidson Nicol. He became interested in science at school and after he left
school he became a science and maths teacher. He then became a technician in a science laboratory.
In 1943 Nicol came to England and went to Cambridge University to study Science. He got a first class honours degree. He wanted to become a doctor and a scientist. He applied to London Hospital Medical College to learn to become a cardiologist (a heart specialist). Due to racism, Nicol was not able to do that. Because of his name, the college thought he was white man who had an
excellent degree. Whey they realised he was African and black they refused to allow him into college.
Later, another professor at a different university said that Davidson Nicol could come and study with him. He went on to get the highest results in his group and became a doctor. Nicol's greatest achievement was discovering how to make human insulin. This was much cheaper than getting insulin from animals. Insulin is a hormone in your blood, which controls how much sugar there is in your blood. If there is too much or not enough sugar in your blood you can become very ill with a disease called diabetes. Before Nicol’s discovery, people had to give themselves daily injections of insulin made from pigs or cows. This insulin, although it helped people feel better, had nasty side effects. Nicol has also done important work on finding better ways to treat arthritis and malnutrition in children.
Davidson Nicol has five children, two daughters and three sons. He teaches at universities all over the world. Nicol has written many books and articles about his work and has received many
prizes, awards and honours.