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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience


Sir Joseph Barcroft attended a local Cambridge school, The Leys and was awarded a BSc from London whilst still at school. He came up to King’s College Cambridge and studied Natural Sciences, graduating in 1896 and becoming a Fellow of King’s College. During WW1 and WW2 he served at Porton Down- at times carrying out experiments on himself! Exactly one hundred years ago Sir Joseph Barcroft published ‘The Respiratory Function of the Blood’ and during his career he was also interested in altitude physiology- organising mountaineering expeditions- and the fetal circulation. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1910 and the Professor of Physiology in Cambridge in 1925.

At the Barcroft display, you can measure physiological changes during exercise, think about the challenges of organising an expedition to Mount Everest, and see the changes that take place in the circulation after birth.