Tag Archives: science

That hospital smell

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, USA “Caricature of a Man with a Large Nose” by Claude Monet. 1855/56. Credit: The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Carter H. Harrison Collection. Public Domain. What smells good to you? Do you know why? To many people smell seems of little significance, yet it is a powerful sense, […]

John Tyndall, FRS: The beauty of science

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. John Tyndall FRS [This media file is in the public domain in the United States.] Over many centuries non-medical people have carried out research into disease and its causes, often making important advances. The 1841 Census estimates suggest a third of all medical practitioners in England were unqualified.a The […]

Giovanni Borelli, polymath of Naples and Pisa

Giovanni Borelli lived during one of the darkest periods of Italy, when much of its territory was ruled by foreign powers and the Inquisition controlled the minds and bodies of its people. Born in Naples in 1608, he was mentored in his youth by the distinguished philosopher Tommaso Campanella, a prisoner in a castle in […]

Van Leeuwenhoek’s discovery of “animalcules”

George Dunea Chicago Illinois, USA   “I then most always saw, with great wonder, that in the said matter there were many very little living animalcules, very prettily a-moving. The biggest sort. . . had a very strong and swift motion, and shot through the water (or spittle) like a pike does through the water. […]

Jean Marie Poiseuille: physics and mathematics

Son of a carpenter, Jean Marie Poiseuille was born in Paris in 1799 and began his studies in physics and mathematics in 1815. When the school was disbanded for political reasons he switched to medicine and after graduating opened a practice in Paris. He became a member of the Academy of Medicine in Paris, later […]

Jules Amar (1879-1935). A method to help soldiers who were amputated or mutilated during the First World War reintegrate society.

Philippe Campillo Ziad Joseph Rahal France     Figure 1. The arthrodynamometer. (Amar, 1915, p. 833) Jules Amar (1879-1935) may not be well known in medical texts, but his work helped initiate two important scientific disciplines: the physiology of work and ergonomics. In The performance of the human machine: research on work (1909)1 Amar wrote […]

Cancer class

Emily Dieckman Tuscon, Arizona   The author’s aunt documented her mom’s chemotherapy journey through photographs, making signs for loved ones to hold in photographs to show support. (Author photo.) When my parents told me about the cancer, everything felt different. It seemed the entire world had suddenly gone from plain font to italics – everything was […]

Thomas Bayes and Bayes’ Theorem in Medicine

Geoffrey Baird Seattle, WA, USA   The work of an eighteenth-century British clergyman can help you when someone forgets to switch off their turn signal Medical nomenclature is often ridiculous. One professor in my medical school used to say of misnomers in medicine that they were like the Holy Roman Empire, which was neither holy, […]

How a bishop unwittingly kick-started the DNA revolution

William Kingston Dublin, Ireland   Ewald, Born, Heitler & Schrodinger 1943, outside 65 Merrion Square (then home of STP). Courtesy of DIAS. E. Schrodinger, 1955. Courtesy of the Irish Press. In 1943 a series of lectures was delivered in Trinity College, Dublin, which had profound scientific and medical consequences. Their title was What is Life? […]

The Rockefeller Institute and the growth of cell biology

Adil Menon Brookline, Massachusetts   The Rockefeller Institute In 1995 Nobel-winning cell biologist George Palade stated that “a newborn baby needs, of course, a friendly, comfortable cradle, which was provided by the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and thus became the American cradle of cell biology.”[1] This essay explores the unique aspects of this cradle, […]