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Smart People from Southeast Kansas - September 28, 2012

Q: Talk about the power of education! Elmer McCollum grew up on a farm in southeast Kansas, near Fort Scott. But after graduating from the University of Kansas and Yale, he went on to make some amazing discoveries. What, specifically, did he discover - or co-discover?

Vitamins Flickr_KayVeedotINC
(Flickr Photo by KayVee.INC)

A: Vitamins A, B and D


Elmer-V.McCollum History-of-Medicine

Elmer Verner McCollum was born on a farm near Fort Scott, in southeast Kansas. That’s where he spent the first 17 years of his life. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1903 and later earned his doctorate at Yale University. McCollum studied plant protein composition and diet. While working as a faculty member in agricultural chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, McCollum established the nation's first colony of white lab rats to use for his nutrition experiments. He is credited with discovering or co-discovering Vitamins A, B and D – and helping to create the vitamin naming system. McCollum is considered one of the scientific giants in the field of nutritional biochemistry. 

McCollum-Hall Flickr_FHKEElmer McCollum is the PARTIAL namesake of McCollum Hall at the University of Kansas. The residence hall is actually named for Elmer AND his brother, Burton, another KU alum. Burton McCollum was an electrical engineer and geophysicist who helped pioneer the use of seismography to drill for oil.




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