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Not the End of the Physician-Scientist

In 1984 Gordon N. Gill, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Diego, published an essay entitled “The End of the Physician Scientist?” He described how from the mid- 1960s to the early 1980s the biomedical research enterprise in the United States passed largely out of the realm of clinical investigators and into that of Ph.D. scientists working at the molecular leveL He also noted that in the United Kingdom and Europe the split between basic science and clini

Eugene Garfield

In 1984 Gordon N. Gill, professor of medicine at the University of California at San Diego, published an essay entitled “The End of the Physician Scientist?” He described how from the mid- 1960s to the early 1980s the biomedical research enterprise in the United States passed largely out of the realm of clinical investigators and into that of Ph.D. scientists working at the molecular leveL He also noted that in the United Kingdom and Europe the split between basic science and clinical medicine had been completed by the early 1970s. The clinician-scientist had become the “clinician-applier of basic science.” (American Scholar, vol. 53, 1984, p. 360.) “Like it or not,” Gill concluded, “the separation of physicians and scientists is well advanced.. . . Partial attention to either science or medicine is no longer enough” (p. 368).

Gill, while astutely describing a genuine and broad historic shift, I think...

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