Tag Archives: 20th century

The talented Dr. Cotton and other quacks

Philip R. Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States   Portrait of Henry Andrews Cotton from Appleton’s Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1924. Via Wikimedia. Over the centuries there has been a surfeit of talented medical quacks in all parts of the world. The word “quack,” indeed, is derived from the archaic Dutch word “quacksalver,” meaning “boaster who […]

Death, disease, and discrimination during the construction of the Panama Canal (1904-1914)

Enrique Chaves-Carballo Overland Park, Kansas, United States   Theodore Roosevelt, portrait, ca. 1904, Wikipedia Commons, public domain. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (1858-1919) President Theodore Roosevelt envisioned an interoceanic canal as indispensable for American “dominance at the seas.”1 An isthmian canal would facilitate rapid deployment of U.S. Navy ships from Atlantic to Pacific Oceans, bypassing the arduous […]

A drawing created during World War I

Tilman Sauerbruch Bonn, Germany   Fig 1. Portrait-drawing of the of the surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch by Max Beckmann 1915 at the frontline during World War I (private collection). A photograph of a drawing by Max Beckmann (1884-1950) of the surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch (1875-1951) has been hanging in my room since my student days (Fig. 1). […]

Erik Jorpes: from Kökar to Helsingfors, Moscow, and Stockholm

Frank A. Wollheim Lund, Sweden   Fig. 1 Jorpesgården (Jorpes farm) on Kökar where Jorpe was born. (reference 9) Johan Erik Johansson was born in 1894 in Jorpesgården in the village of Overbroad on the small, barren island of Kökar in the archipelago of Åland, a Swedish-speaking part of Finland. His father, Johan Eriksson, was […]

Medicine and cinema—a cultural symbiosis

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Fig 1 Poster for Chaplin film City Lights. Published 1931. Unknown artist. Via Wikimedia. Public Domain. For doctors and lovers of cinema, 1895 was an important year. On 8 November 8, 1895 Wilhelm Röntgen, a fifty-year-old professor of physics, discovered X-rays in his laboratory in Wurzburg, Germany. On […]

Love and death; painting the farewell

Giovanni Ceccarelli Rome, Italy   Image from Ein Maler vor Liebe und Tod. Katalog und Ausstellung von Jura Bruschweiler. Page 123. Collection of Josef Muller, Solothurn. Exhibited in Kunsthaus, Zurich, from April 9 to May 23, 1976. When Ferdinand Hodler met Valentine Godé-Darel, a thirty-five-year-old woman divorced from a Sorbonne professor ruined by gambling, at […]

The history of polio and cigarettes, and the need for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Daniel Gelfman Indianapolis, Indiana, United States   Polio Vaccine and Fundraising Matchbook. Photograph at the Science History Institute, Philadelphia. Photo Credit: Daniel Gelfman, July 3, 2021. Depicted in this display (Picture 1) at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia are technologic marvels. The first is a box that contained early vials of Dr. Salk’s formalin […]

A brief history of menstruation

Fangzhou Luo Portland, Oregon, United States   Philammon declaring his love for Hypatia. Wikimedia Commons. Public domain. After a few failed attempts to redirect a flirtatious student to “higher pleasures” like music, the Ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Hypatia resorted to revealing where she was in her menstrual cycle to deter him. The philosopher who recorded […]

Eye-brain-extremity coordination and enduring sports achievement

Marshall Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   Rafael Nadal. Photo by Carine06. 2016. Via Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0 Neuroscientists have imaged the brain of athletes, looking for changes related to the sports they played, whether principally aerobic or anaerobic. These efforts have suggested expansion of the gray matter in certain anatomical areas of the […]

The medical exploits of Roald Dahl

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Roald Dahl (1916-1990). Photo: © Roald Dahl Nominee Limited. Source Roald Dahl (1916-1990) (Fig 1) was born in Llandaff, Wales. He was named after Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer who had reached the South Pole just four years earlier. Dahl is known as a popular author of ingenious, […]