Tag Archives: Fall 2020

The revolution of Abraham Flexner and its aftermath

Picture of Abraham Flexner. From The World’s Work, 1910, by W. M. Hollinger. Via Wikimedia. Unlike his brother Simon, who became a celebrated infectious diseases specialist and director of the Rockefeller Institute, Abraham Flexner was mainly interested in culture and education. He also grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where his father had ended up after […]

Kathleen (Yardley) Lonsdale DSc., FR

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Dame Kathleen Lonsdale (née Yardley) by Elliott & Fry. 1996. National Portrait gallery. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 Kathleen Lonsdale (1903-1971) (Fig 1) like her contemporary Dorothy Hodgkin was one of the women pioneers in a man’s world of professional scientists.1 She developed original techniques in X-ray diffraction of crystals […]

Nazi doctors and medical eponyms

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Special Children’s Ward” Vienna Am Spiegelgrund. Source. The tradition in medicine has been to name a pathological condition after the person who first described it in the medical literature. Thus we have Addison’s disease, Down’s syndrome, and several hundred others. The tendency now is to eliminate the possessive,1 giving Addison […]

Simon Flexner, infectious diseases pioneer

Simon Flexner. circa 1930s. Courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center. Source, Infectious diseases shaped the life of Simon Flexner, who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most successful and prominent scientists in American medicine. His contributions to the field of infectious diseases were legion. He became the first chairman of pathology at […]

Things to think

Dean Gianakos Lynchburg, Virginia, United States   Detail of: A crossword fanatic ringing up a doctor in the middle of the night to find the answer to a clue. Line block after D.L. Ghilchilp, 1925. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Think in ways you’ve never thought before. If the phone rings, […]

Girolamo Cardano: Renaissance physician and polymath

Born at Pavia in the duchy of Lombardy in 1501, Girolamo Cardano practiced medicine for fifty years but is remembered chiefly as a polymath. He composed 200 works, made important contributions to mathematics and algebra, invented several mechanical devices (some still in use today), and published extensive philosophical tracts and commentaries on the ancient philosophers […]

C. Miller Fisher: Stroke in the twentieth century

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, UK   Stroke, in spite of its serious and widespread impact, had long received little interest from physicians. C. Miller Fisher, one of the twentieth century’s outstanding neurologists and researchers, revolutionized the management of stroke. In this well-researched and readable biography, Louis Caplan, a distinguished Harvard neurologist and former trainee of […]

The first effective chemotherapy for cancer

Marshall A. Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   Caution: Chemotherapy. Photo by Justin Levy. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0   Sulfur mustard gas had no influence on the outcome of the battle at Ypres during World War I despite the many deaths and severe injuries it inflicted. Since then, chemical weapons have been used in […]

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin OM, FRS (1910-1994)

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1: Dorothy Hodgkin. by Godfrey Argent. National Portrait Gallery, London. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. Dorothy Hodgkin (Fig 1), though not by religion, had close Quaker affinities through her marriage and through her spirited pacifism. She possessed a unique mixture of scientific skills that allowed her to extend the use of […]

John Dalton

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. John Dalton. Line engraving by W. H. Worthington, 1823, after J. Allen, 1814. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) John Dalton (1766–1844) (Fig 1) is one of the most revered scientists of the last 250 years. His origins were humble. He was the son of Deborah and […]