Conway Review Lecture 1978

18/01/1978 in University College Galway

Patrick F. Fottrell, Department of Biochemistry, University College, Galway.

Intestinal Peptide Transport and Hydrolysis in Health and Disease

PF Fottrell: It is indeed a very great pleasure and honour to be asked to present the second Conway Review Lecture on ‘home territory’ at this meeting in Galway. E. J. Conway, F.R.S. (1894-1968) formerly Professor of Biochemistry and Pharmacology at University College, Dublin, was undoubtedly one of Ireland’s greatest scientists. He is probably best known for his mathematical approach to problems such as transport of cations across biological membranes and for his book “Micro-diffusion Analysis and Volumetric Error” (Conway, 1957). A striking feature of Conway’s scientific career was the extraordinary breadth of his research interests. In addition to his active research involvement in the kidney, gastric secretion and cation transport in yeast he also maintained interests in several other topics such as the geochemistry of the ocean. His paper on the chemical evolution of the ocean (Conway, 1943) is a very remarkable treatise which was, I understand, in the vanguard of geochemical theories at that time. Within a few months in 1959-60 he was an invited lecturer at distinguished gatherings at a biomedical hormone conference in Canada and an agricultural conference on potash in the Netherlands. He made a great impact on Irish and international science well outside of his chosen field of biomedical research. Perhaps his influence on science in this country is best summarised by another of Ireland’s distinguished scientists, Tom Walsh, Director of the Agricultural Institute (An Foras Taluntais) who wrote in ‘The Irish Times’ after Conway’s death. “Ireland and Irish science, in particular, has lost in his passing, one of its greatest sons. His scientific accomplishments and the stimulating impact which he has had on so many, live on and will endure“.

Irish J Med Sci , Volume 148, Issue 1, pp 123–134