Tag Archives: Oxford

Book review of The Origins of Modern Science

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: The Origins of Modern Science: From Antiquity to the Scientific Revolution. Science and medicine have long been intertwined: many advances in the field of medicine would not have been possible without prior knowledge of fundamental science. It is not surprising, therefore, that a medical historian would also […]

Why do physicians write so badly?

Peter Arnold Sydney, Australia   Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels An old joke is that pharmacists are the only people who can read physicians’ handwriting. This piece is not about handwriting, but about writing style. Compared with great medical authors, like Somerset Maugham, Conan Doyle, Anton Chekhov, John Keats, and Friedrich von Schiller, most […]

How Britain rescued scientists from Nazi tyranny

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Signatories to Letter to The Times, 22 May 1933 In March 1933 while visiting Vienna, William Beveridge, Director of the London School of Economics, learned that Hitler had just decreed it illegal for “non-Aryan,” mostly Jewish people to hold posts in the Civil Service. Many lawyers, doctors, and […]

William Sands Cox—surgeon and founder of the Birmingham Medical School

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Drawing of William Sands Cox by T H Mcguire. 1854. Public domain. Via Wikimedia  In the early nineteenth century Birmingham was the second largest city in England. It was an industrial powerhouse, known as the city of a thousand trades, but it did not have its own medical […]

Tobias and the Angel—miracle or medical?

Elizabeth Colledge  Jacksonville, Florida, United States   Tobias and the Angel. Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio. between circa 1470 and circa 1475. The National Gallery. Via Wikimedia. Admirers of Andrea del Verrocchio’s painting Tobias and the Angel (circa 1470-1475) may be unaware of the purpose of Tobias’s journey with the archangel Raphael. The Book of […]

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 […]

William Osler: clinician and teacher with a pediatric interest

Göran Wettrell Lund, Sweden   Figure 1. Sir William Osler in Oxford, photo presented by Lady Osler. Sir William Osler has been described as one of the greatest physicians of his time, especially known for his bedside medicine and teaching (Figure 1). He has also been characterized as “a pediatric-minded worker within the widespread wine-yard […]

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 […]

Salernitan women

Vicent Rodilla Alicia López-Castellano Valencia, Spain   Figure 1. A miniature from Avicenna’s Canon representing the Salernitan Medical School. Source The first medical school in the Western world is thought to be the Schola Medica Salernitana (Figure 1), which traces its origins to the dispensary of an early medieval monastery.1 The medical school at Salerno […]