Sir William Osler vs. Alexander Graham Bell

The father of the medical internship goes up against the inventor of the telephone

Sir William Osler

Why he’s famous: Osler introduced the concepts of clerkship and residency in medicine, forcing doctors to gain years of hands-on experience before graduating to their own practices. “If you listen carefully to the patient,” he often said, “they will tell you the diagnosis.”

Why he deserves to win: By moving students from the lecture hall to the patient’s bedside, Osler revolutionized the teaching of medicine, making it more patient-focused. Osler also went to great lengths to make the profession less stuffy. Writing under a pseudonym, he once penned an article in thePhiladelphia Medical News describing the condition “penis captivus,” in which the vaginal muscles clamp down harder than usual during intercourse. Osler was, in other words, a Victorian-age Dr. House.

Alexander Graham Bell

Why he’s famous: He invented the telephone. Duh.

Why he deserves to win: He also invented the metal detector, created an alphabet for the Mohawk language, contributed significantly to aeronautics, and was a founder of the National Geographic Society. A natural inventor, Bell created his first invention at age 12, a de-husking machine that he used to make his part-time flour-milling job easier. But really, what would the last 135 years be like without phones?

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Next: Sir Sandford Fleming vs. Sir Frederick Banting and Charles Best

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