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Introduction

The Charleston Science Walk takes you past some important and interesting homes and churches in the Holy City once occupied by individuals (many trained as physicians) not usually mentioned on conventional city tours. All played critical parts in the Charleston's scientific community which started with Hannah Williams in the early 1700's and continues to the present day with the award of a Nobel Laureate in Medicine to Dr. Robert F. Furchgott in 1998.

Charleston's interest in the sciences was demonstrated in 1748 when a group of citizens appointed a "special committee for collecting materials for promoting a Natural History of the province" and organized the Charleston Library Society.

In 1822, Thomas Cooper, professor of Chemistry and Mineralogy at the South Carolina College (Columbia) gave a boost to the city's small scientific community when he agreed with a suggestion of local physicians that a school of medicine should be established in South Carolina. Cooper forcefully pointed out the desirability of establishing a medical college to the medical board of Columbia, but it was a petition to the State Legislature that called for the incorporation of a medical college in Charleston with the power to grant degrees that prompted its founding in 1825.

Members of the faculty of the Medical College of South Carolina over the past two centuries have taken a serious interest in the study of botany, chemistry, entomology, icthyology, mineralogy, and zoology. Their residences, although now occupied by others, still stand unmarked on many city streets, linking us with those men and women who made important contributions to the advancement of science in Charleston, South Carolina, the South, and the Nation.