Barry, Martin (DNB00)

BARRY, MARTIN, M.D. (1802–1855), physician, was born at Fratton, Hants. He studied medicine at Edinburgh, Paris, Erlangen, Heidelberg, Berlin, and London; was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, and took his M.D. degree in 1833. He was a pupil of Tiedemann at Heidelberg, and devoted his attention to the study of embryology. He contributed in 1838–9 two papers on embryology to the ‘Philosophical Transactions,’ and was awarded the royal medal in 1839. In the following year he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1843 he made the important discovery of the presence of spermatozoa within the ovum, which fact he communicated to the society. This observation was challenged by Bischoff, but after a lapse of nine years was corroborated by Nelson, Newport, and Meissner, and eventually admitted by Bischoff. In that year he delivered a course of physiological lectures at St. Thomas's Hospital, and in the following year was appointed house surgeon to the Royal Maternity Hospital at Edinburgh, where he distinguished himself in the practice of midwifery, and gained the respect and love of the poor among whom he practised. He again visited the continent in 1849, and went to Prague, Giessen, and Breslau, where he worked with Purkinje, who translated a paper by Barry on ‘Fibre,’ which was published in Müller's ‘Archiv’ in 1850. In 1853 he returned to England, residing at Beccles in Suffolk, and working at his microscopical studies up to a short time before his death. He was an indefatigable worker, with the keenest interest in his studies, and to him are due the important discoveries of the segmentation of the yolk in the mammiferous ovum, and the penetration of spermatozoa within the zona pellucida.

[Edinburgh Medical Journal, 1856; Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Aerzte, 1884; Obituary Notice of R. Society, 1885.]

R. R. T.