Son of a carpenter, Jean Marie Poiseuille was born in Paris in 1799 and began his studies in physics and mathematics in 1815. When the school was disbanded for political reasons he switched to medicine and after graduating opened a practice in Paris. He became a member of the Academy of Medicine in Paris, later also of Stockholm, Berlin, and Breslau. He seems to have practiced medicine until at least 1844; published many scientific papers; and received special medals for his research in physiology. In the field of hypertension, he is remembered for devising a mercury manometer, the “hemodynometer,” to measure blood pressure. His main achievement, however, is the formulation of what Is known as Poiseuille’s law, stating that the flow rate of a liquid in a narrow tube depends on its viscosity, the diameter of the tube, and the drop in pressure along the tube. In 1860 he was elected inspector of the primary schools in Paris. He died in 1869.
GEORGE DUNEA, MD, Editor-in-Chief