History in the Making: Ross’s Slides Explored & Explained


Ross’s slides box

In 2016, students from the History & Health M.Sc. module suggested that the Archives should put Sir Ronald Ross’s malarial slides, dating from 1900, under the microscope.


Slide with gentian stain


Due to the age and rarity of these slides, you can imagine I was a little nervous but also very excited wondering what we might find!  With the great expertise and enthusiasm of Ailie Robinson, Mojca Kristan and staff from the Teaching & Diagnostic Unit, slides were examined under the microscope. Wonderfully, they were still viable and presented some exciting results.

The staining techniques for slides – for example the use of gentian violet – has changed considerably since the 19th century, but we could still see oocysts and gametocytes, and Cheryl Whitehorn photographed the results.

On Wednesday 28th November, 12.30-2pm, Manson Foyer area, drop by to see the slides, along with rare books on the subject of malaria and a selection of Ross’s archives, including his prize brass microscope from 1902 and his renowned notebook, where in 1897 he meticulously recorded his dissection of the mosquito mid-gut to prove the mosquito as malarial vector. Ross's 1897 notebook

From the Rare Books collection

We have experts Ailie Robinson, Cheryl Whitehorn, Mojca Kristan, William Stone and Claire Rogers on hand to explain the slides, and the archivists will be there to show you more details of Ross’s archive.

Look out for posters and see upcoming details on Noticeboard and @LSHTMArchives

For more information on the Archives Service, see our web pages