George Pearson, the son of an apothecary, studied medicine at Edinburgh under Joseph Black. He entered medical practice at Doncaster in 1777, but moved to London and became a physician at St George's Hospital in 1787. He lectured on chemistry and was the first English chemist to adopt the oxygen theory; he was elected FRS in 1791. One of the first to advocate Jenner's cowpox vaccination, he thought himself superior to Jenner in promoting it. He expected recognition and when this was given exclusively to Jenner, became embittered. His reputation was damaged and he has largely been forgotten.