Barcroft, Joseph

Barcroft, Joseph


Born July 26, 1872, at the Glen, Newry; died Mar. 21, 1947, in Cambridge. English physiologist; professor at Cambridge University (1926); member and laureate of the London Royal Society.

Barcroft laid the foundations for the study of the respiratory function of the blood. He proposed a method for the determination of the gases in the blood with an apparatus that he constructed. Barcroft also studied the effect of salts and acids on the capacity of hemoglobin to bind oxygen, investigated the role of diffusion in the transfer of oxygen from the alveoli of the lungs to the blood, and studied the effect of lowering atmospheric pressure on the respiratory functions of the blood. He demonstrated the role of the spleen as a blood depot. Barcroft devoted his last years to the physiology of the embryo and studied the characteristics of the respiratory function of the blood in the embryo and mother.


The Respiratory Function of the Blood, vols. 1–2. Cambridge, 1925–28.
Researches on Prenatal Life. Oxford, 1946.
In Russian translation:
Osnovnye cherty arkhitektury fiziologicheskikh funktsii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1937.


Major, R. J. History of Medicine, vol. 2. Oxford, 1954. Pages 961–1027.
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