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Submitted by Gary Moss

Ernest Lyman Scott was an American physiologist best known for his groundbreaking research on isolating insulin from the pancreas to treat diabetes.

Born in Kinsman in 1877, Scott earned his bachelor of science degree from Ohio Wesleyan University, his master of science degree from the University of Chicago in 1911 and then a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1914 where his dissertation included the Standard Blood Test for Diabetes.

It was during his graduate research at the University of Chicago where he became the first research scientist to successfully separate a substance from the pancreas that aided carbohydrate metabolism. Scott came to the lab of Anton Carlson, hoping to focus his research on diabetes after a close friend died of the disease.

Controversy over his discovery started when Scott left for Kansas, leaving behind his thesis for Carlson to publish for him. The thesis appeared in the 1912 American Journal of Physiology with edits made to the original thesis that discounted Scott’s discoveries.

It was not until 1922 that Frederick Banting, using Scott’s theretofore little-known article, reproduced Scott’s experiments more fully and identified insulin as the active internal pancreatic secretion. Banting credited Scott’s previous work in his landmark article and later won the 1923 Nobel Prize for solving the problem of diabetes. Controversy remained, however, over Carlson’s alleged tampering of Scott’s original thesis.

Scott joined the faculty at Columbia University in 1914 and served during World War I as a major in the Sanitary Corps of the American Expeditionary Force, stationed in France.

After his service ended, Scott returned to Columbia and remained on the faculty until his retirement in 1942. Afterward, he began a second career as a noted horticulturist and was one of the founders of the National Chrysanthemum Society of America. In 1953, he and his wife Aleita co-authored a book called Chrysanthemums For Pleasure.

He died in 1966. The National Library of Science and the New York Botanical Garden hold his papers.