Today is the bicentenary of the birth of John Snow, the Victorian physician who worked out how cholera is transmitted and is often called the father of epidemiology. But would he recognise the field today? MRC-funded PhD student Suzi Gage takes a look at how it has changed, and finds a discipline that Snow could still call home.
Head to Soho in London and you might find an epidemiologist or two on a pilgrimage to Broadwick Street and the memorial to John Snow. There you’ll find a public water pump with its handle missing; a symbol of Snow’s discovery that cholera was spread not through “bad air”, but through contaminated water. Snow famously asked for the handle of the Broad Street (now Broadwick Street) pump to be removed, after he mapped local cases of cholera and determined that water from it was the most likely source of the outbreak. Read more