Robert Alexander McCance, 9 December 1898 - 5 March 1993

Elsie May Widdowson
1995 Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society  
biochemist and nutritionist. He was certainly an investigator, but not a specialist. He was an opportunist, ready to take advantage of problems that presented themselves, whether con cerning a patient with an obscure disease, food shortages in wartime, survival after ship wreck, or a chance observation that he believed needed further investigation. He was interested in the physiology and biochemistry of the whole body and the functions of its organs and tissues rather than its nerves, cells and
more » ... s nerves, cells and their inclusions. He made major contribu tions in many fields, but he became so absorbed in the subject of current interest that he dis liked being distracted, and he got rather irritated when a visitor called who wanted to discuss with him the relative merits of white and brown bread when he was deep in thought about the function of newborn infants' kidneys. He was a well-known figure, cycling in Cambridge and along the country roads around, thinking about the investigations going on in his depart ment. If he suddenly had an idea about one of them he would find the nearest telephone box and call the person concerned, even if it was early on a Sunday morning. Those who worked with him loved his little eccentricities and many stories were told about them, some of them true, but others greatly exaggerated.
doi:10.1098/rsbm.1995.0016 fatcat:3gb7ow6zufbn3o37p62vgzk2vy