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200th Anniversary Of Snow’s Birth Will Be Marked By More Than A Dozen Special Events In The UK, US, And On The Web

Events At A Glance -

2013 is the 200th anniversary year of the birth of John Snow and will be celebrated at public events at York University 200 miles north of London in the town where he was born and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the city where his epidemiological work was carried out.

Smaller events such as a historical walk in Snow’s footsteps through parts of London where cholera was investigated and a public lecture about Snow’s contributions to anesthesia at the Old Operating Theatre Museum are also on the drawing boards.

In the United States, the anniversary will be celebrated in more low key fashion at the closed annual meeting of the American Epidemiological Society at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Using the Internet, many other special events are being planned including a webinar, “Tweet fest”, countdown, raffle, and logo doodle contest with the Epi Monitor.

Here are the details of these events and happenings as we understand them now:

1. March 15, 2013 All day event “The Legacy of John Snow: York’s Famous Son”

This day long celebration sponsored by the Department of Health Sciences at York University will take place at the Park Inn on North Street in York. According to Hilary Graham, chair of the sponsoring Department, the address of the Park Inn on North Street is the presumed same spot on North Street where Snow was born exactly 200 years ago on March 15, 1813. The program will feature four speakers covering the times in 19th century England when Snow lived, his contributions on cholera and anesthesia, and a presentation tracing Snow’s long term legacy in public health.

According to Professor Graham, Snow is strangely unknown in his own land and is an example of how no man is a prophet in his own village. “You could read a 400 page history of York without once coming across a reference to Snow,” Graham told the Monitor. She added, ‘it is deeply shocking”.

In remarks to a local paper, Graham had this to offer “Our civic traditions mean we are very good at celebrating battles and kings found under car parks, but John Snow’s contribution was felt around the world. I think one day is a small contribution to make to public acknowledgement of his tremendous achievements.”

Because one of the main purposes of the event in York is to make Snow better appreciated in his hometown, the event is being publicized locally by the organizers.

For more details, visit:

2. March 15-16, 2013 Evening lecture and day long meeting “Mapping Disease: John Snow and Cholera”

These events will be held at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the John Snow Lecture Theatre on the anniversary date of Snow’s birth. Because of the busy academic calendar on weekdays at the London School at this time of the year, the events will be held on a Friday evening and Saturday.

The evening public lecture will be given by Sandra Hempel, an author of two books about Snow, and followed by a reception.

The full day program will be focused on historical aspects of Snow’s work on cholera presented by 7 invited speakers including well-known names in epidemiology such as George Davey-Smith and Jan Vandenbroucke.

3. April 11-12, 2013 Two-day conference with dinner and pub visit
“Snow’s Legacy: Epidemiology Today and Tomorrow”

The program for this two day conference is “more contemporary, more adventurous”, according to the London School’s Paul Fine, one of the organizers of the conference. In planning the conference, Fine and others talked to many colleagues to learn the names of persons who are applying epidemiology in surprising and interesting ways to tackle a range of problems, and not only those in the health domain.

For example, criminologists and economists are now using epidemiologic methods very similar to those being used by epidemiologists on health problems, and one of the hopes for the conference Fine told the Monitor is to get participants talking across disciplines.  ‘We hope to open some minds, get some ideas, and have some fun,” said Fine about the conference.

More than 20 speakers are slated to present at the two day conference including well-known epidemiologists such as Nigel Paneth, Cesar Victora, Ken Rothman, David Heymann, Richard Peto, and many others. Among the unexpected topics perhaps will be Gary Slutkin on treating violence as an epidemic disease, Robert May on the epidemiology of financial networks, Carole Torgerson on trials in education research, and Angus Deaton on trials in economic development. Not the usual fare at epidemiology meetings.

A panel debate with audience participation is scheduled on the topic of data access---a sparring about the benefits of access vs those of privacy and confidentiality.

Social highlights of the conference will be a dinner at the Wellcome Trust where the after dinner topic will be “Bad Science” presented by science writer/epidemiologist Ben Goldacre who is well-known for books and a regular column on this topic in the Guardian, and a visit to the John Snow pub at the end of the second conference day. Again, not the usual ending for an epidemiology meeting.

4. March 15, 2013 Lecture

“John Snow—Anesthesia’s First Scientist—A 200th Anniversary Celebration”    

This event will feature a lecture by Drs Adrian Padfield and David Zuck which has one of the more intriguing names of any event scheduled so far. The lecture is entitled “John Snow and the Grizzly Bears” and will feature Snow’s contributions to anesthesia and medicine.

The venue will be at the Old Operating Theatre Museum which includes an old operating room and herb garret in the roof space of an old English church.

5. March 10, 13, and 20 Three two-hour walking tours           

“Death by Water: John Snow and Cholera In Victorian Soho”

Three walking tours will be guided by medical historian Richard Barnett for what is billed as “a walking tour of dirt, disease, pleasure, and revolution in the grubby West End.” The events are free and will begin at the Wellcome Collection location in London

To book a tour, visit:

6. March 13-17 April, 2013 A month long exhibition “Cartographies of Life and Death—John Snow & Disease Mapping

According to the John Snow Bicentenary website:

the exhibition will contain historical treasures and commissioned artworks. Entry is free. Also, an evening of films, audio, readings and talks on water quality and infrastructure in London after John Snow entitled “London Flows” will take place on March 26 under the leadership of the UCL Urban Laboratory

7. March 21-22 Scientific session and Langmuir Lecture “Snow Day”

This event will feature a series of talks on Friday morning at the annual meeting of the American Epidemiological Society at Michigan State University in East Lansing Michigan. Several abstracts have been accepted on various topics related to John Snow including ones by two Michigan State’s Snow biographers Nigel Paneth entitled “Mode of Communication—The Central Focus of Epidemiology?” and Steve Rachman  entitled “Our Sense of Snow, Epidemiology and Popular Culture”. Paneth will also be speaking at the two day conference in London on “The Singular Science of John Snow”.

The Langmuir Lecture will be given by USC’s Jonathan Samet and is entitled "From John Snow to Today:  Going from Data to Policy”  Attendance at the AES meeting is restricted to members of the AES and their guests.

8. March 12, 2013-12:00  Online Webcast/Seminar “Celebrating the Life of Dr. John Snow”

The online seminar is designed to attract those people interested in the life of Dr. John Snow who cannot make it to the on-site celebrations in York and London England. People who register will be able to listen to presentations, view slides and participate through a question and answer forum. The program will be captured and posted on line as a podcast after the event.

The speakers will include:

Michael J. McGuire, MJM, Inc. “Legacy of Dr. John Snow:  Water Filtration and Chlorination in the U.S. during the 20th Century

Steve Via, American Water Works Association, “Dr. John Snow: Impact on U.S. Regulation of Drinking Water”

Lindsay Olson, Artist, “Raising Awareness About Wastewater Through Art:  Dr. John Snow and Cholera”

TBD, “Miasma and Death by Cholera:  Dr. John Snow and the Dawn of the Germ Theory of Disease”

Date and Time:  March 12, 2013—12:00 noon to 3:00 pm EST

Location and Web Hosting:  TBD, Check Twitter at #BroadStPump or blog at

(Google it) for instructions on how to register (free).

9. February 14-March 15, 2013

 A Countdown

“Thirty-Days To The Bicentenary Of Dr. John Snow’s Birth”

Everyone loves a countdown. Thirty Days of #DrJohnSnow uses Twitter and blog posts on

to inform the participants. The countdown explores interesting aspects of the life of Dr. John Snow and alerts the readers to fun and interesting things to do to learn more about his contributions to public health. Material from Snow websites and the three biographies of Snow are used liberally on the blog.

Date:  Started on February 14, ends on March 15, 2013

Location: Daily postings on Twitter—follow these hashtags #DrJohnSnow and #BroadStPump. Read daily updates on the blog Safedrinkingwaterdotcom

10. March 15, 2013 Tweet Fest

“Gather ‘Round the #BroadStPump’”

A group of engineers and scientists are celebrating the life of #DrJohnSnow gathering ‘round the virtual #BroadStPump on March 15, 2013 to participate in a Tweet fest.

Anyone can join. All you have to do is compose a tweet (<140 characters) with a comment on Dr. Snow’s life or legacy.  Include the hashtags #DrJohnSnow or #BroadStPump and Twitter will compile all of the tweets in one location.

Date and Time:  March 15, 2013; Time TBD

Location: Twitter—use hashtags #DrJohnSnow or #BroadStPump

11.  From Today Until March 15

Write In Campaign  “Ask Google to Honor Dr. Snow With A Doodle”

Hundreds of John Snow enthusiasts have sent emails to Google ( to ask that they create a doodle honoring Dr. Snow on March 15. Doodles are explained in this link:

12. Now until March 15 Contest  The Snow EpiDoodle Design Competition

Whatever happens with Google the in campaign described above, The Epidemiology Monitor Facebook page cover image (the teal blue image at the top of our Facebook page) at: is something the epidemiology community has more say about.

We are holding a contest for the best “doodle” rendering of “epimonitor” received by March 15th  which honors Snow.  The winning doodle will temporarily replace our cover image on March 15th or as soon thereafter as is practicable.

Interested readers should submit their sketches and ideas to . A digital image in  .jpg, .bmp, .gif or Word document format and a written description of the reasoning behind the design are required for all valid entries.  All entries become property of the Epidemiology Monitor. We reserve the right to rework any sketches submitted and reject any entry judged not suitable for our publication.

The creator of the winning entry will receive a $250 prize and a free copy of the original edition of “Cholera, Chloroform, and the Science of Medicine.” Contact our digital editor at: for  questions.

13. By May 1, 2013 Raffle  “Free Books On Snow”

The Epidemiology Monitor has 12 original editions of the book on John Snow entitled “Cholera, Chloroform, and the Science of Medicine”. One of the authors, Nigel Paneth, told the Monitor that the original edition was published on a high quality paper and reveals the text and content most vividly.

To enter the raffle, 1) submit the email addresses of 10 or more epidemiology and/or public health colleagues who want to obtain a free subscription to the Epidemiology Monitor newsletter here:

or 2) submit a paid advertisement for any job, book, or event/meeting to:



We will raffle off these 12 copies among all entrants. We will include your name once for each set of 10 names you submit, and your name 10 times for each ad purchased. To improve your chances, submit more names or ads.

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