Tag Archives: JMS Pearce

Walter Russell Brain DM FRCP FRS (1895–1966)

JMS Pearce  East Yorks, England   Lord Brain. From The Royal London Hospital. Source Russell Brain (Fig 1) was born at Clovelly, Denmark Road, Reading, on 23 October 1895, the only son of Walter John Brain, solicitor, and his wife, Edith Alice. A quiet, reserved man of enormous intellect and integrity, he was revered as […]

Thomas Young MD FRS (1773-1829): “The Last Man Who Knew Everything.”

JMS Pearce East Yorks, UK   Fig 1. Thomas Young. Mezzotint by G. R. Ward, 1855, after Sir T. Lawrence. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) It is impossible to place precisely Thomas Young (Fig 1) into any professional class. He was both physician and scientist, renowned for an astonishing range of […]

Sir Geoffrey Langdon Keynes

JMS Pearce East Yorks, UK   Fig 1.  Sir Geoffrey Langdon Keynes. Reproduction after a pencil drawing by G. Shaw, 1957. Credit: Wellcome Collection.  (CC BY 4.0) Mention the name Keynes in Britain and most people think of the Buckinghamshire town Milton Keynes or the celebrated twentieth-century economist John Maynard Keynes. In the thirteenth century […]

Roget and his Thesaurus

JMS Pearce East Yorks, UK   Fig 1. Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869). William. Drummond, after Eden Upton Eddis. c.1830s. Credit National Portrait Gallery  There was much more to Peter Mark Roget (1779–1869)(Fig 1) than his indispensable Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (Fig 2).1 But little is remembered of his illustrious career in medicine and […]

Thomas Henry Huxley

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. TH Huxley. print by Lock & Whitfield. 1880 or earlier. Via Wikimedia. “In matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without regard to any other consideration . . . In matters of the intellect, do not pretend that conclusions are […]

Origins of the knee jerk

JMS Pearce  East Yorks, England   Wilhelm Heinrich Erb. By F. Langbein & Cie. Heidelberg. 1897. Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 Reflex hammers are the icon or hallmark of every neurologist. How important are the reflexes they elicit? What is their mechanism? The advent of modern technology has made it easy to forget […]

Tendon reflex hammers

JMS Pearce  East York, England   Fig 1. Wintrich hammer cropped from Semantics Scholars The vogue for reflex hammers started with Erb and Westphal’s adjacent papers1,2 in the 1875 issue of the Archiv für Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten, which described the tendon or muscle stretch reflex. Wilhelm Heinrich Erb (1840-1921) read medicine at Heidelberg where he […]

Thomas Sydenham, “The English Hippocrates”

JMS Pearce East Yorks, UK   Fig 1. Thomas Sydenham. Abraham Blooteling after Mary Beale – portrait of Thomas Sydenham 8-B-47-Med Source Still Fever burns, and all her skill defies Till Sydenham’s wisdom plays a double part, Quells the disease and helps the failing Art. -from a poem on plague by John Locke, 1668   […]

Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man

JMS Pearce England, UK   Second only to his Mona Lisa, the most famous drawing in the world of art is perhaps Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452–1519) Vitruvian Man. Leonardo was the illegitimate son of a notary and a peasant girl. He was named after his birthplace Vinci (at Anchiano) near Florence. He became a painter, […]

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and smallpox

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. A painting of Mary Wortley Montagu by Jonathan Richardson the Younger. Via Wikimedia. There are few examples of people with no medical training who independently make significant advances in medical practice. One such person was the elegant, aristocratic Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762)—daughter of Evelyn Pierrepont, 1st Duke […]