Tag Archives: science

Christopher Wren’s contributions to medicine

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Left: Sir Christopher Wren. From James Bissett’s Magnificent Guide, 1808. Wellcome Collection via Wikimedia. Public domain. Right: Blue plaque at Hampton Court Green. Photo by Edwardx on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. An extraordinary natural philosopher and Renaissance man, Christopher Wren (1632–1723) (Fig 1) was primarily an astronomer and […]

A note on circadian clocks

JMS Pearce Hull, England   I first started to enquire about circadian rhythms when wondering what it was that caused the periodicity of migraines in relationship to such diverse factors as emotions, tiredness, relaxation, hormonal changes, bright lights, and noise.1 The periodic threshold appeared susceptible to hypothalamic function, which in turn was modulated by seasonal […]

From silks to science: The history of hematoxylin and eosin staining

Vidhi Naik Aberdeen, Scotland   A slice of logwood, notably depicting its deeply colored heartwood, atop different fabrics stained by logwood dye. Image obtained and published with permission from Botanical Colors. Introduction Hematoxylin and eosin, dyes used to stain tissue samples, collectively known as H&E, form the benchmark for histological stains. These dyes possess a […]

Help from the horseshoe crab

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Horseshoe crab. Crop of photo by Didier Descouens, 2009, via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. The horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) has not changed in more than 450 million years. It has been called “a living fossil.”1 It is, in fact, not a crab at all, but an arthropod, more closely related […]

The origins of NIH medical research grants

Edward Tabor Bethesda, MD, United States   The main administration building at the “National Institute of Health,” photographed sometime between 1940–1947, before the name was changed to “National Institutes of Health.” The original name can be seen under the cornice. From the “Images from the History of Medicine” collection at the National Library of Medicine, […]

Mankind and the camel: An old romance

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Figure 1 (left). Dromedary camels, Saudi Arabia. Figure 2 (right). Bactrian camel, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, Illinois.   “The camel is a horse designed by a committee.” This quotation is attributed to Sir Alec Issgonis (1906–1988), a British car designer who worked for the Morris Minor Company […]

The beginnings of cell theory: Schleiden, Schwann, and Virchow

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Figure 1. Robert Hooke’s pores (cells) of the cork oak. Wellcome Collection. CC BY 4.0. Every schoolchild is taught in biology about cells and their elemental importance. Students of biological and medical sciences also learn about the Schwann cell sheath that invests nerve fibers. What is less well known is […]

Berzelius, father of Swedish chemistry

  Jons Jakob Berzelius. Engraving by Charles W. Sharpe and published by William Mackenzie, 1860. After Johan Olaf Sodermark. Smithsonian Libraries Image Gallery via Wikimedia. Public domain. Born in 1779 in East Gotland in the southern part of Sweden, Jons Jacob Berzelius descended from an old Swedish family in which many of his ancestors had […]

Book review: Civilization and the Culture of Science

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of Civilization and the Culture of Science: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1795–1935 by Stephen Gaukroger. The word civilization has both Latin and French origins: civitas (city) and civis (citizen) in Latin, and civilise (civilized) in French. In 1923, physician, philosopher, and theologian Albert Schweitzer wrote […]

Dr. Fritz Kahn and medical infographics

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Der Mensch als Industriepalast (Man as Industrial Palace). A human head in profile divided into offices, staffed by little men, and areas of industrial production. Artwork by Fritz Kahn in Das Leben des Menschen; eine volkstümliche Anatomie, Biologie, Physiologie und Entwick-lungs-geschichte des Menschen (Kosmus publishers, Stuttgart, 1926). Chromolithograph. Via the […]