Best and Noble Flip a Coin

Living History
Written on: 
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The story of how insulin was discovered was in its early stages when Frederick Grant Banting met with then Physiology Professor, John James Rickard Macleod in May of 1921.  Banting met with Professor Macleod to discuss a theory he had concerning an internal secretion of the pancreas relating to diabetes.  Macleod encouraged the research and gave Banting a small, decrepit laboratory in the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto to conduct his experiments.  During one of their early meetings, Macleod introduced Banting to two of his students in the Honours Physiology and Biochemistry course, Charles Best and Clark Noble, to choose an assistant to help with the research.  Best and Noble, undecided on who would work alongside Banting, flipped a coin to determine who would become the auspicious assistant.  This stroke of luck landed Charles Best with the opportunity of a lifetime and set his future as a co-discoverer of insulin, the first effective treatment of type 1 diabetes.