Science – Hektoen International

That hospital smell

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, USA “Caricature of a Man with a Large Nose” by Claude Monet. 1855/56. Credit: The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Carter H. Harrison Collection. Public Domain. What smells good to you? Do you know why? To many people smell seems of little significance, yet it is a powerful sense, […]

John Tyndall, FRS: The beauty of science

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. John Tyndall FRS [This media file is in the public domain in the United States.] Over many centuries non-medical people have carried out research into disease and its causes, often making important advances. The 1841 Census estimates suggest a third of all medical practitioners in England were unqualified.a The […]

Johannes Purkinje: physiologist with wide interests

Johannes Purkinje (1787 –1869) was one of the best-known scientists of his time, now remembered for discovering, in 1837, the large neurons with branching dendrites of the cerebellum (Purkinje cells), and the fibers conducting electrical impulses from the atria to the ventricles of the heart (Purkinje fibers). In addition, he introduced into medicine the terms plasma and protoplasm, and was the first […]

Giovanni Borelli, polymath of Naples and Pisa

Giovanni Borelli lived during one of the darkest periods of Italy, when much of its territory was ruled by foreign powers and the Inquisition controlled the minds and bodies of its people. Born in Naples in 1608, he was mentored in his youth by the distinguished philosopher Tommaso Campanella, a prisoner in a castle in […]

Claude Bernard, one of the greatest scientists

Claude Bernard (1813 –1878), “one of the greatest of all men of science,” originated the term milieu intérieur, and furthered the concept of homeostasis. After an early high school and college education, he become an assistant in a druggist’s shop and contemplated becoming a writer, but was persuaded to study medicine and became an intern at the Hôtel-Dieu hospital […]

Van Leeuwenhoek’s discovery of “animalcules”

George Dunea Chicago Illinois, USA   “I then most always saw, with great wonder, that in the said matter there were many very little living animalcules, very prettily a-moving. The biggest sort. . . had a very strong and swift motion, and shot through the water (or spittle) like a pike does through the water. […]

Jean Marie Poiseuille: physics and mathematics

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 […]

Carl Ludwig, pioneer in human physiology

Carl Ludwig (1816 -1895), one of the greatest physiologists of the nineteenth century, made important contributions to a variety of disciplines. An activist in his youth, he found it necessary at one stage to switch medical schools; and also while a student became interested in fencing, which accounts for a prominent scar on his upper […]

Paul Ehrlich: from aniline dyes to the magic bullet

George Dunea Chicago, Illinois, United States   Fig. 1, Phenylamine  To understand Paul Ehrlich, the man who developed the first effective cure for syphilis, we must dial back to 1826. In that year, a German scientist called Otto Unverdoren isolated from indigo a volatile organic substance that smelled like rotten fish. Other scientists followed him […]

Jules Amar (1879-1935). A method to help soldiers who were amputated or mutilated during the First World War reintegrate society.

Philippe Campillo Ziad Joseph Rahal France     Figure 1. The arthrodynamometer. (Amar, 1915, p. 833) Jules Amar (1879-1935) may not be well known in medical texts, but his work helped initiate two important scientific disciplines: the physiology of work and ergonomics. In The performance of the human machine: research on work (1909)1 Amar wrote […]