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These pages represent a purposedly
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compiling a great many different sources, often using the
original texts and not the WWW; the information
collected here does not use Wikipedia which, by
construction, relies on a process akin to a vote, and
changes over time in order to reflect some kind of a
popular anonymous consensus about knowledge. Care
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Please send comments and corrections
29 may 1453 At a time when the luminous period of
Islamic science and philosophy finishes to be tragically
destroyed, Constantinopolis is captured by the Turks,
ending the era of a united Europe from West to East, and
starting the development of modern Europe, centered on the
Western countries, with the end of the Medieval Ages and a
general reappraisal of the Greek philosophy, shifting from
emphasis on Aristotle to emphasis on Plato.
This is a transition period where Latin and French are
slowly replaced by English (with a large corpus, borrowed
from Latin and Greek) in Science. French (Anglo-Normand)
remains the language of power and aristocracy in England
and Scotland until ~1400, while Latin is the only language
of Philosophy and Science. Both are replaced by vernacular
English, shifting Science from the realm of clerical
research to that of aristocrats or bourgeois people
interested in collecting objects and developing
philosophical reasoning independently of the Church. This
attitude is essential in the exploration of the world,
that culminates in the discovery of the New World a few
1470 Lorenzo de Medici (Firenze 1449 - Firenze
1492) the magnificent ruler of Firenze, creates a School
for talented artisans, where one studies geometry,
grammar, philosophy and history, supporting Leonardo
da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Savonarola (Ferrara, 1452 - Firenze, 1498) a
Dominican friar from the convent of San Marco begins to
harangue the Florentines with prophetic language of the
1489 Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) who restores the
study of Plato writes an influential book on the
nature of life: De
vita libri tres in which he relates the world
soul to the human soul.
da Vinci (Firenze 1452 - 1519), both artist
and mechanician (painting and mechanics were often taught
together in those times) draws many varieties of human
anatomic figures, in particular the famous Man of Vitruve.
1496 Giovanni Arcolani (Ioannis Herculani) (ca.
1390 -1458) teaches medicine in Bologna and in Padova
after the teaching of Rhazes and Avicenna. He
publishes an Expositio
in primam sen quarti Canonis Avicenne. He
seems to be the first to have introduced gold to fill
Achilini (1463 - Bologna, 1512), sometimes
named "the second Aristotle" publishes works in the domain
of anatomy, in parallel with his work on movement.
1518 Jacopo Berengario da Carpi (~1460 – 1530)
publishes his Tractatus de fractura calve sive cranei
a carpo where he discusses prognosis, diagnosis and
treatment, as well as the technique of craniotomy, after a
polemic raised by the treatment of Laurent de Medici who
had cranial fracture after a battle.
1522-1523 Berengario publishes the first
detailed anatomic description of the human body in a
series of illustrations, Isagogae breves per lucide ac
uberrime in anatomiam humani corporis, correcting
the basal knowledge still based on arabic medicine
obsolete for a long time already.
Frascatoro (Verona, 1483 or 1478-1553) both
physician and mathematician, describing an epizootic
disease that was probably foot and mouth disease. He
publishes De contagione et contagionis morbis et eorum
traslation, 1893) in which he separates between two
forms of contagion; direct contagion between persons as in
leprosy and phthisis and indirect contagion transmitted by
seminaria, germs transported by air, clothes and
usual objects of daily life. These seminaria are specific
for a specific disease; they have a kind of antipathy for
the persons they contaminate. This remarkable intuition of
what was to become microbial infections took unfortunately
very long before infectious agents were explicitly
Copernicus (Niclas Kopernik) (Thorn, 1473 -
Bologna, 1543) works on his major contribution to Science,
George Joachim Rheticus in this Narratio
prima of the new solar system (printed in
Dantzig). Copernicus states that the Earth is not
the centre of the Universe but revolves around the Sun.
~ 1543 Jacob Sylvius (Jacques Dubois) (Paris 1478
- 1555) author of many books on French grammar, begins to
study medicine in his fifties and discovers many new
anatomical features of man in his In
Hippocratis et Galeni physiologiae anatomicam isagoge.
Vesalius (Bruxelles 1514 - 1564) publishes
the most up to date version of human anatomy: De
humani corporis fabrica (On the fabric of the
human body) followed by a compendium (Epitome).
1548 Luigi Cornaro (Padua 1467- Padua 1566) in his
della vita sobria describes how he has been
trying to achieve long age by restricting his food intake.
1549 Caspar Hartung vom Hoff (?-?) publishes Ein
Frembdes und wunderbarliches Kunstbüchlein, allen
Malern ... hochnützlich zu gebrauchen that
creates the Philosophal Stone, an essential Alchemist
document: "Viens donc mon bien-aimé, laisse-nous
étreindre et engendrer un fils qui ne ressemblera pas à
ses parents, car sa tête rouge sera, noirs ses yeux, et
blancs ses pieds."
ca 1550 Leonhart Fuchs (1501 - Tübingen 1566)
maintains a Hortus Medicus where he cultivates a
variety of medicinal plants in Tübingen.
1551 Translation into English (posthumous) of
Morus (1478-1535) DE OPTIMO STATU
REIPUBLICAE DEQUE NOVA INSULA UTOPIA (written in Latin,
and first translated into French, english
1551-1558 Konrad Gesner (Zürich 1516 - Zürich,
from plague 1565) publishes the four immense folio volumes
of his Historia
Animalium. He is remarkable by his
introduction of illustrations as a means to enhance the
quality of description of the various objects of
knowledge, in particular animals.
1553 Edward Wotton (Oxford, 1492 - 1555),
faithfully following Aristotle in De
differentiis animalium libri decem,
eliminating however most of the fabulous animals of
Antiquity, describes the use of many animal products as
1553 Miguel Servet y Reves (Michael
Servetus) (Villanueva 1509/1511 - burnt at
stake, Geneva 1553), who wrote Christianismi
restitutio is condemned by the court of Geneva under
the advice of several Protestant Churches. After having
written De trinitatis erroribus: Dialogi de Arinitate
he practicised anatomy with Vesalius in Paris,
being an adversary of Calvin spiritualist physiology. For
him, the blood has its seat in the liver and veins, the spiritus
vitalis in the heart and the arteries, and the spiritus
animalis which is a ray of light is situated in the
brain and in the nerves. The vital spirit is communicated
by the heart to the liver which through the veins provide
material to the spirit which is formed by the union of the
finest components of the blood with the inhaled air. This
takes place in the lungs then to the right heart chambers,
purged of soot through exhalation, then mixed with inhaled
air and purified to the left heart chambers. He proves
that, contrary to general opinion (Galen's theory),
this passage is indirect (through the lungs) and not
direct from the heart chambers. This work has
unfortunately been destroyed but the ideas pervaded the
contemporary thought. Servetus is burnt at the
stake as a heretic for denying the Trinity.
1554 Guillaume Rondelet (Montpellier, 1507 -
Montpellier, 1556) in his treaty Libri
de piscibus marinis, describes all possible
kinds of aquatic animals, including worms, molluscs and
other marine invertebrates ("pisces" means clearly
much more than "fish"). Many specimen were described after
dissection and compared with each other (in particular the
form of the branchiae).
1555 Rondelet further elaborates his work on
aquatic animals in Universae
aquatilium historiae pars altera, cum veris ipsorum
1555 Andreas Vesalius criticizes Galen in
the second edition of his seven volume work detailing
human anatomy, De Fabrica.
1555 Pierre Belon (Cérans près Le Mans 1517 -
murdered by highwaymen 1564) after studies in Paris and
Germany collects material through Greece, Turkey, Syria
and Egypt. On his return publishes La Nature et
diversité des poissons and L'Histoire
naturelle des estranges poissons marins, avec la vraie
peincture & description du daulphin, & de
plusieurs autres de son espèce. In these works
he mixes up many different species of "fish": not only
whales and seals but also custaceans, molluscs, the
hippopotamus and beavers or otters! All are among the
animals which can be eaten during the Catholic fast, but
one finds also the chameleon there, with no understandable
relationship with water! However one finds interesting
clustering of common features in this work. He later
publishes a new treaty,
L'Histoire de la nature des oyseaux, avec leurs
descriptions et naïfs portraicts retirez du naturel,
where the clusters are highly similar to those recognized
today, based on their habits, but also on their anatomy.
This makes his work one of the first instances of
comparative anatomy, neglected until Buffon and Cuvier
entirely renewed the domain.
1559 Mateus Realdo Columbus (Cremona, 1516 -
Padua, 1559) publishes De
re anatomica, libri XV as a successor of Vesalius,
six years after the work of Servet with exactly
the same theory, but certainly much more experiments than
thought in the latter work.
1562 Bartolommeo Eustacchi (San Severino da
Mariano ? - Roma 1574) in his Opuscula
anatomica investigates the auditory organ (De
auditus organis; hence "Eustachian tube", published
in Venice) blood circulation and dental development in the
1562 Gabriele Fallopio (1523 - 1565) reports Observationes
anatomicae (in particular sex organs, hence
the name of the ovarian Fallopian tubes).
1563 Joannes Wierus (Grave, 1515 - 1588), who may
beconsidered as the founder of psychiatry is an opponent
to prosecution of witches. In his book De
praestigiis daemonum et incantationibus ac beneficiis
libri sex Wier considers them as
victims of the devil, who poses false images in their
minds, which they consider as being real. The victims are
often sick and sometimes under influence of drugs. Wier
believes in demonic possesions and opposes deceiving
monks and magicians, who use superstitious means to cure
people. He opposes the use of clerical means as monotonous
recited exorcisms, lustral water, paschal candle, stole,
pilgrimages etc. and the use of magic conjurations,
amulets, magic deeds and such. His therapy, similar to
beliefs in many traditional medicines, is based on making
a sick body healthy. Via England and the Netherlands his
ideas stay alive and have their influe nce later-on. In
fact Wier claims a place for the doctor in legal
and religious affairs to judge the imputability of an
involvedvictim. In suspicion of demonic possession, or
when somebody confesses impossible deeds in court a
natural disease has to be excluded before a person is
punished by law, or exorcised by a priest. This view is
still extant in Western legal systems.
ca 1565 Gerhard Dorn (ca 1530 Mechelen - Frankfurt
am Main 1584), a disciple of Paracelse writes against the
discovery of the Philosophal Stone his Aurora
Philosophorum. He tries to convert the four elements
into the original One World unity of Unus Mundus.
1568 Costanzo Varolio (Bologna 1543 - Bologna
1575) produces a detailed description of the central
nervous system and in particular of the structure now
known as "pons Varolii".
Francesco Patrizi (Cherso 1529 - 1597)
discusses Aristotelian physics in his Discussionum
peripapeticarum tomi primi, libri XIII. He develops
the idea of the coincidence between the infinite potential
and the infinite created, in contradiction with Nicolaus
Paré (Bourg-Hersant 1510 - Paris 1590) son of
a barber and surgeon of four successive kings and of the
Duke of Rohan describes in Le Livre des Monstres
what he thinks is the mark of events in pregnant women in
anomalies of embryos and newborn infants (De la petite
vérole royale et vers des petits enfants et de la lèpre).
1578 Laurent Joubert (1529-1583) from the
University of Montpellier publishes the secrets of
physicians in French: Erreurs populaires au fait de
médecine et de santé, which starts a violent attack
1578 Julien Le Paulmier (Agneaux lès Saint Lô,
France 1520 - Caen, 1588) publishes a treaty on contagious
diseases, including venereal diseases and plague, De
morbis contagiosis libri septem. He is also known
for a treaty on cider an wine (De vino et pomaceo,
translated from Latin into Traité du vin et du sidre,
in 1589), showing a common interest with what Pasteur
was to resurrect three centuries later. The link however
is not to the cause of the diseases, but the idea that
health is strongly related to what we eat or drink (as in
present day fashion for 'natural' ways of life).
Fabrizio (Fabricius ab Aquapendente) (1537-
Padua 1619), successor of Fallopio, Fabricius
publicly demonstrates the valves in the veins of the limbs
in 1579. He subsequenlty writes treatises on the evolution
of the egg and the embryo in birds and reptiles, mammals
and sharks; studies animal psychology (cries); develops a
first stage of comparative anatomy; and discovers the
veinous valves (through binding the limbs of live humans)
which are clearly at variance with the Galen theory of
circulation but he does not understand what this meant
(this was understood by his pupil Harvey).
Bruno (Nola 1548 - burnt at stake 1600), like
Cusanus, maintains the subjectivity of mental observations
and combines the atomist fragmentation of the world with
the neo-platonic ideas of the unity of matter. He
publishes his Clavis Magna on the art of Memory.
Palissy (~1510 - 1590) states in his book on
eaux et fontaines, métaulx, selz, pierres, terres,
esmaulx et feuz, de l'or potable, du mithridat et
thiriaque that pierres figurées (the name
then given to fossiles) are the remains, often petrified,
of ancient living organisms which were found at the bottom
of seas, where we still find them.
1580 André du Breil (? - ?) publishes a long
summary of medical practice in the XVIth century, giving
many concrete examples in his La
police de l'art et science de médecine, contenant
la réfutation des erreurs, & insignes abus qui s'y
commettent pour le jourd'huy: très utile et nécessaire à
toutes personnes, qui ont leur santé & vie en
recommandation. He tries to combat charlatans, and
in particular the school of Paracelse.
Ricci (Macerata, 1552 - Beijing, 1610) (re)
introduces science in China (in particular mathematics and
trigonometry) by publishing the first map of China, which
is the first time for the Chinese to see their position in
1585 The Oeuvres complètes of Ambroise
Paré are published.
1587 Giovanni Pico
Della Mirandola (Jean François Pic de la
Mirandole) (Mirandola, 1463 - Firenze, 1494)
describes gold transmutation experiments in his De
Auro Libri Tres. Opus sane aureum in quo de Auro tùm
aestimando, tum utendo ingeniosè et doctè disseritur
(Ferrare, Victorius Baldinus)
1587 The De serpentium natura from Konrad
Gesner is published posthumously.
Cesalpino (Arezzo 1519 - Roma 1603) pioneer
in the discovery of the circulation of the blood Quaestionum
peripateticarum, libri V: tries to prove that the
veins originate in the heart, not in the liver as proposed
by Galen and proves that the heart is the centre of the
circulation system (with the brain, as in Aristotle as
a cooling device) and maintains with Columbus that
the change of chambers in the heart occurs after passage
through the lungs, and he proposes for that the word "circulatio".
1589 Posthumous publication of Theophrastus Philippus
Aureolus Bombastus von Paracelsus
(Paracelse) (1493-1541) Bücher und
Schriften, where herecommends the use of specific
products to fight diseases.
Viète (Fontenay-le-Comte 1540 - Paris 1603)
publishes In artem analyticam isagoge, using
letters as symbols for quantities, both known and unknown.
His Algèbre nombreuse (arithmetics and number
theroy) and subsequently his Algèbre spécieuse (use
of unknowns in equations) entirely renovate algebra.
Kepler (Weil der Stadt 1571 - Regensburg
1630) publishes the Mysterium Cosmographicum where
he defends Copernicus ideas.
1596 The botanist Caspar
Bauhin (1560-1624) in his Sinonimia
botanica recognizes 6,000 species of plants and
groups them by a combination of characters, so that
grasses, mints, legumes, etc. are classed together. The
flower of a Bauhinia is the symbol of Hong Kong.
Aldrovandi (Bologna, 1522 - Bologna, 1605)
inspired by Gesner (including in the way he
introduces illustrations) publishes his Ornithologia,
hoc est de avibus historiae, libri XII (in fact
fourteen large folio volumes).
1600 In his
treatise De formato foetu – the first work of its
kind – Fabricius compares the late fetal stages of
different animals and gave the first detailed description
of the placenta.
1603 Santorio Santorio (Capodistria, 1561
– Venezia, 1636) studies metabolism and transpiration in a
quantitative manner, introducing the experimental method
1603 Fabricius publishes the first accurate
description, with detailed illustrations, of the veinous
valves in De Venarum Ostiolis, believing that the
valves' function was to retard the flow of blood to enable
the tissues to absorb nutriment.
Bacon (London 1561 - London 1626) who is an
admirer of Democritus
writes The two Books of Francis Bacon of The
Proficience and Advancement of Learning Divine and
Humane, to the King which is a rare attempt to
think philosophically in English at a time when philosophy
is mostly expressed in Latin. This treaty endeavours to
establish that Science is not contrary to Scripture and
progresses along its own lines of consistency. Bacon also
begins to establish that, in Science, the figure of the
author is not imporant, because the progress of knowledge
precisely supposes a gradual effacement of the figure of
the authors of discoveries (inventio). And Bacon
demonstrates that placing too much emphasis on the person
of authors is an impediment in the development of Science.
Also he insists on the fact that progress in Science can
only perpetuate if one builds on what is already acquired,
needing for example, the development of libraries. He is,
of sort, the father of the idea of data banks, and of the
work of curators.
1612 In De formatione ovi et pulli Fabricius
erroneously states that the sperm did not enter the ovum,
but stimulated the generative process from a distance.
1612 Pierre Arnauld (? - ?) translates the
mysterious alchemist Arthephius (perhaps the XIIth
century al-Tughra'i) Trois traitez de la
philosophie naturelle non encore imprimez. Sçavoir le
secret livre du très ancien Philosophe Artephius,
traitant de l'Art occulte et transmutation Metallique.
Together with the work of a mysterious greek priest, Synesios.
Chez Guillaume Marette, Paris.
1620 In his Instauratio Magna Novum Organum
Bacon makes explicit the analogy between the
great voyages of discovery and the explorations leading to
the advancement of learning.
Galilei (Pisa 1564 - 1642) who has created the
scientific method using experiments with material bodies
studies the regularities of laws governing movement, and,
at the same time, discovers in the Universe a variety of
irregularities not predicted by the vision of the Ancient
sun spots, Jupiter's moons. He writes his famous Dialogue:
sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo. His
motto is "to measure what can be measured and to make
measurable what cannot be measured".
Pierre Gassendi (Champtercier 1592 - Paris
1655) discusses Aristotle logics in the first book
of his Exercitationes paradoxicae adversus
Aristoteleos. The second book is published
1625 Giuseppe degli Aromatari (Assisi ~1587 -
Venezia 1660) in his Disputatio de rabie contagiosa
cui praeposita est epistola de generatione plantarum ex
seminibus, proposes that the foetus of birds is
preformed in the egg. He also discusses about the origin
and propagation of rabies.
1627 Gasparo Aselli (Cremona 1581 - Milano 1626),
professor of anatomy and surgery at the University of
Pavia, publishes De lactibus sive lacteis venis where
his gives the first thorough description of the central
lymphatic network. His book is also the first anatomic
book in colours (four chiaroscuro woodcuts).
Harvey (Folkestone 1578 - 1657) publishes Exercitatio
de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus
after having studied in Cambridge then Padua. This treaty
on circulation is printed at Frankfurt am main in a quarto
volume of seventy two pages summarizing his work since
1616. He establishes the correct route of the blood
circulation and the difference between arteries and veins,
with the role of the lungs, as already seen by Servet
and Columbus. His most original finding is that
blood is not created in the liver but recycled. For this
he makes a simple calculation, measuring the amount of
blood in the heart and counting sixty five heart beats per
minute: this would mean that in less that a minute more
than ten pounds of blood has to be created. This is
obviously impossible. He compares the orientation of the
circulation in veins and arteries, by severing them
parallel to each other, and showing from where the blood
is coming. Finallly the heart is a muscular organ which
drives circulation, and not an inflatable device. could
not find capillaries nor the connection with the food
supply. and adheres to the ancient principles of vital
1629 Jean Bonnart (?-?) publishes a book of
pharmaceutical recipes: La Semaine des médicaments,
observée ès chef-d'œuvres des Maistres Barbiers,
Chirurgiens de Paris. Où est sommairement tracté des
vertus, proprietez, & usages des Plantes, Mineraux,
Animaux, des Parties & excremens d'iceux, avec
le moyen de s'en servir. This treaty stresses the
difference between drugs and food. It makes a
classification organized as a dictionary, and details
their preparation and usage. Rollin Baraignes, Paris
1630 Jean Rey (Le Bugue, France, c.1582/3 - c.
1645) publishes his Essays sur la Recherche de la
cause pour laquelle l'Estain & le Plomb augmentent
de poids quand on les calcine. This work contains
essential observations, within the theory of phlogiston to
explain why metals may increase weight when they are
calcinated. In particular he tries to refute the theory of
phlogiston in this context.
1634 Théodore Turquet de Mayerne (Genève,
Suisse, 1573 - Chelsea, England, 1655) publishes a treaty
on insects: Theatrum Insectorum. The introduction
is by himself but the true author of the treaty is
Descartes (La Haye 1596 - Stockholm 1650),
known for his famous "je pense donc je suis: Cogito
ergo sum" describes life as purely mechanical,
building up on Harvey's theory of the heart and
circulation and summarizes his philosophy in his Discours
de la Méthode (english
1640 Albaro Alonso Barba (1569 - ?)
publishes his Arte de los metales en que se enseña el
verdadero beneficio de los de oro, y plata por açogue,
where he describes in details the process of amalgamation.
The importance of this work rests in the emphasis placed
by Barba on laboratory controls, as well as integration of
all required processes together. As this book was widely
known and translated it must have had a considerable
background influence on the development of experimental
Pascal (Clermont-Ferrand 1623 - Paris 1662)
constructs an Arithmetic Machine, which is a first step
towards automatic computing.
1643 Creation of the Académie Royale Française.
1645 Marc Aurelio Severino (1580-1656) who
studied humanities under Campanella (an opponent of
Aristotle and a victim of political and scientific
persecution) publishes a Zootomia Democritea
comparative anatomy of animals (chapters Tetrapodographia
and Ornithographia). He dies of plague in 1656?
Baptista Van Helmont (1579 - 1644) publishes
an important study of medicinal plants,Ortus medicinae.
1651 Harvey's Exercitationes de generatione
animalium makes the aphorism "Omne animal ex ovo"famous.
It also discusses spontaneous generation and metamorphosis
(example of insects) from reconstitution of parts (cf Empedocles)
and proposes that the pupa is the insect egg...
Hobbes (Westport 1588 - 1679) who since 1640
was residing in Paris, safer than England for
philosophers, publishes in London his major work The
Leviathan on the organisation of political systems;
describing the state as a living organism.
1652 Thomas Bartolin (Copenhagen 1616 -
Copenhagen 1680) publishes a remarked anatomical study De
1653 Annibal Barlet (?-?) publishes a practical
course in chemistry, Le vray et methodique cours de la
physique resolutive, vulgairement dite chimie.
Representé par Figures generales & particulieres.
pour connoistre la theotechnie ergocosmique, C'est à
dire, L'Art de Dieu en l'ouvrage de l'univers, where
he describes the preparation of pharmaceutical chemicals
and processes (calcination, dissolution, sublimation,
digestion, etc.) N. Charles, Paris.
1656 Michal Piotr Boym (Lemberg (Lwow), 1612 -
border between Tonkin and Guangxi, 1659) publishes a flora
of China (Flora sinensis). Later on he introduces
Chinese medicine in Europe, in particular analysis of the
pulse (Clavis medica ad Chinarum doctrinam de pulsibus,
published posthumously in 1686).
1656 Hobbes refutes arguments against his
previous libel on the role of chance in the definition of
liberty, Of Liberty and Necessity in The
Questions concerning Liberty, Necessity, and Chance.
1656 Thomas Wharton (1614 - 1676) publishesAdenographia
the first treatise devoted exclusively to the glands.
Swammerdam (1637-1680), using one of the first
microscopes, is probably the first person to observe and
describe red blood cells.
1678 The jesuit Athanasius
Kircher (Geisa, 1601 or 1602,- Roma, 1680)
uses a microscope to study the blood of plague victims. He
identifies moving animalcules in the blood of patients
(probably the same objects as those seen earlier by
Swammerdam, certainly not the plague bacillus) and
supports the theory of contagium vivum derived
from Frascatore intuition, according to which animalcules
transmit the disease.
1659 Francis Glisson (1597-1677) provides a
thorough description of the anatomy of the liver in Anatomia
hepatis. The envelope of the liver is still know as
1661 Marcello Malpighi (Crevalcuore
(Bologna), 1628 - Roma 1694), Professor of Medicine in
Bologna creates microscopical anatomy. He then goes to
Messina, returning to Bologna to demonstrate the structure
of the lungs where he discovers capillaries, the network
of fine vessels that connect the arteries and the veins.
He describes many anatomical structures at the
1661 Jean Pecquet (Dieppe 1622 - Paris 1674),
fondateur de l'Académie Royale, publishes experiments in
anatomy where he substantiates Harvey's results on
circulation: Experimenta nova anatomica.
1662 Lorenzo (Laurentio) Bellini (Firenze 1643 -
Pisa 1704), Anatomist and Physician, Professor of
Philosophy and Anatomy in Pisa describes what is known a
Bellini's Tubules - of the kidney; Bellini's Ducts -
orifices of the tubules in his Exercitationes
anatomicae duae de structura et sus renum.
1662 Creation of the Royal Society of the
Promotion of Natural Knowledge in London on the
model of the Académie Royale Française.
1662 John Graunt (1620-1674) publishes his Natural
and Political Observations mentioned in a following
Index and made upon the Bills of Mortality, where he
makes the first elaborate demographic studies of mortality
in Britain. He tries to identify the causes of death, an
approach then not followed by people registering death
(who used, rather, to consider age only).
1664 Niels Steensen (Sténon) Nicolaus
Steno(nis) (Copenhagen, 1638 - Schwerin,
1686) publishes a major anatomy study: De
musculis et glandulis.
Willis (1622-1675) gives a first
complete description of the anatomy of the brain in Cerebri
Anatome, cui accessit Nervorum description et usus
and coins the word neurology.
Lower (Bodmin 1631 – London 1691) performs the
first recorded blood transfusion in animals. With a crude
syringe made of goose quill and bladder, created by the
architect Christopher Wren, he connects the jugular vein
of a dog he has bled to the neck artery of second dog,
resuscitating the former.
Hooke (1635 - 1703) publishes a compendium of
illustrations and description of what can be seen through
the microscope, Micrographia. This comprised
sponges, wood, seaweed, leaves, hair, feathers, fly wings,
eggs of silkworm, mites (including a flea and a louse) as
well as the first microbe, a mold (which he named a
1666 The autodidact Edme
Mariotte (Dijon, ~1620 - Paris, 1684)
discovers the blind spot in the eye and describes the
corresponding experiments in Observations sur l'organe
de la vision. Unfortunately he wrongly assumes that
the choroid, not the retina, perceives light.
1667 In June, Jean-Baptiste
Denis (Paris ca 1640 - 1704) transfuses a
teenage boy suffering from a persistent fever with nine
ounces of lamb's blood. He attaches the lamb's carotid
artery to a vein in the boy's forearm. It is reported that
the patient did not suffer any negative consequences (this
is quite unlikely). Denis uses the procedure on
several other patients, until the death of Antoine Mauroy,
whom Denis transfuses twice with calf's blood in
December. On November 23, before the Royal Society in
England, Drs. Richard Lower and Edmund King
give Arthur Coga, an indigent former cleric, a transfusion
of several ounces of sheep's blood for a fee of 20
shillings. It is said that the patient recovers nicely.
Later events suggest the contrary.
1669 Sténon publishes in Florence
remarkable considerations on geology in Prodrome d'une
dissertation sur le solide contenu naturellement à
l'intérieur d'un solide, tracing back elements of
the history of the Earth's crust, by comparing strata with
and without fossil remains.
1669 Lodewijk Huygens (1631 - 1699) in a
letter to his famour brother Christiaan discusses
how one can evaluate the life expectancy at birth in human
1670 Denis sues Antoine Mauroy's widow in
1668 for slandering his reputation. The case precipitates
the French Parliament's ban on all transfusions involving
humans. Similar actions follow in England and Rome.
1670 Agostino Scilla (Messina, 1639 -
Roma, 1700) in La Vana Speculazione Disingannata dal
Senso, describes fossil organisms from Calabria and
remarks that well inside land one finds traces of species
inhabiting the sea.
Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) learned in the work
of Jewish and Arabic theologians writes a philosophy of
his own where he advocates tolerance Tractatus
1671 Jacques Rohault (1618-1672) publishes his
influential Traité de Physique, in which he
develops the experimental and conceptual ideas of Descartes.
1671 Paolo Boccone (Palermo 1633 - Palermo 1704)
publishes in Paris his Recherches et observations
naturelles with many observations in natural
history, and in particular on plants and toxicology.
1672 Thomas Willis publishes further work on the
nervous system in De anima brutorum, quae Hominis
vitalis ac sensitiva est. Exercitationes, etc.
1672 Nehemiah Grew (Coventry 1641 - London 1712),
botanist and physician uses the microscope to give a
thorough description of plants inThe Anatomy of
1672 Regnier de Graaf (Schoonhaven 1641 - Delft
1673), a former student of Francis de la Boe Sylvius
and of Diemerbroeck in Leyden describes the organs
now known as Graafian Follicles - folliculus oophorus
vesiculosus.in.De mulierum organis generatione
(Opera ominia, Leyden, 1677; London, 1678).
1674 Unaware of the work of Swammerdam
and Malpighi, Antony
van Leeuwenhoek (Delft 1632 - 1723), a linen
draper fascinated by microscopy, provides a more precise
description of red blood cells, approximating their size,
"25,000 times smaller than a fine grain of sand." From
then on, he sends notes to the London Royal Society on a
regular basis about his observations.
~1675 Johann Joachim Becher (Speyer, 1635 -
London, 1682) a professor of medicine and an alchemist
supporting the theory of the four elements exchanging fire
during transformations, creates a vessel that still is
named after his surname, the becher.
1676 Leeuwenhoek, using microscopes of his
fabrication, discovers what was later known to be bacteria
in pepper-water infusion. Being astonished by the sheer
number of these beings, Leeuwenhoek asks for the testimony
of eight credible persons to confirm his observation.
1676 Francis Willughby (Fr Willughbeii) (1635 -
1672) publishes a general description of birds in Latin (Ornithologia)
later translated as The Ornithology of Francis
Willughby by John Ray (Braintree 1627 -
1677 Johann Conrad Peyer (Schaffhausen 1653-
Schaffhausen, 1712) publishes his Exercitatio
anatomico-medica de glandulis intestorum, earumque usu
et adfectionibus after having studied under Duverney
in Paris. He later is Professor of Logic, Rhetoric and
Medicine. He is know for his description of the Peyer's
Patches - noduli lymphatici aggregati and Peyer's
Nodules - noduli lymphatici solitarii.
1678 In contrast to Sténon and Scilla,
Kircher tries to reconcile the existence of fossil
species found in sediments with the description of the
Deluge in the scriptures (Mundus subterraneus).
1679 JJ Wepper (?-?) gives a first description of
what was to be known as duodenal glands by his son in law
Perrault (Paris 1613 - Paris 1688) known as
the builder of the east façade of Le Louvre publishes his
Essais de Physique where animism is pregnant.
1681 Denis Papin (1647 - 1712 ?) invents the
principle of the autoclave. His book is published in
french the following year: La manière d'amollir les
os, et de faire cuire toutes sortes de viandes en fort
peu de temps et à peu de frais; avec une description de
la Machine dont il faut se servir à cet effet, ses
propriétés & ses usages, confirmez par plusieurs
Expériences. This machine was later on used to make
a moving steaming machine.
1682 Andreas Cleyer (1634 - 1697/1698) first
physician of the Company of Indies, publishes a treaty of
Chinese anatomy and acupuncture: Specimen medicinae
sinicae sive opuscula medica ad mentem sinensium. It
is likely that this work is in fact due to the jesuit Michal
1682 William Petty (1623 - 1687) in Another
Essay in Politikal Arithmetick, Concerning the Growth of
the City of London: with Measures, Periods, Causes and
Consequences thereof, tries to evaluate the doubling
time of the growth of a city. He extrapolates to the size
of the Earth and shows that with the 320 million people
then thought to occupy the Earth, exponential growth could
not be sustainable. He also attempts to evaluate the size
of the population in Noah's time (he finds one million
1685 Giovanni Alfonso
Borelli (Napoli 1608 - Roma 1679) publishes De
motu animalium which starts the practice of
mechanical medicine. He explains the muscular movement and
shows that they shorten when they contract. In addition he
studies blood circulation, the movements of lungs,
analyses the brain; the liver and the kidneys and studies
1685 Raymond Vieussens (Vigan, ~1635 -
Montpellier 1715) who later described the left ventricle
of the heart and the course of coronary blood vessels
publishes Neurographia universalis.
1685 Jan Swammerdam publishes in Utrecht his Histoire
générale des Insectes.
1686 John Ray publishes Francis Willughby'sgeneral
account of marine animals in De Historia Piscium libri
quatuor, Totum opus recognovit, coaptavit,
supplevit, librum etiam primum et secoundum integros
adjecit J. Raius.
Robert Boyle's (1627 - 1691) Opera omnia
quorum extant summarize the many factets of the
work of this important experimentalist physicist,
impressed by the theory of the
1686 Nicolas Venette (1622 - 1698) publishes La
Génération de l'Homme, ou Tableau de l'amour conjugal,
considéré dans l'état du mariage, where he analyses
human progeny, with the view that marriage should be
organized in such a way as to favour the "best" features
of human nature (i.e. the obvious characters of human
phenotype, such as physical strength). This paves the way
for eugenics theories two centuries later.
1687 Marcello Malpighi's Opera omnia are
1687 Johann Konrad Brunner (Diessenhofen,
Switzerland 1653 - Mannheim, 1727) after having studied
under Duverney in Paris becomes Professor of
Anatomy at Heidelberg and later in Strassburg. He
discovers Brunner's Glands - glandulae duodenales,
published in his Descriptio de glandulis in duodeno
intestino detectis and in Physiologica de
glandulis duodeni cogitata.
Newton (Woolsthorpe 1642 - London 1727) writes
(in latin) his Principia Mathematica. His next
work Optiks (1704), will be written in English.
1688 Francesco Redi (1626-1697) makes an
experiment showing that if one protects meat deposited on
a table with a gauze the worms which use to develop there
no longer appear, showing that this type of life requires
contact with living flies and is not spontaneous.
1691 Clopton Havers (1650/1655 - Essex, 1702)
publishes in London his work on bones, Osteologia Nova.
A London physician, he qualified in Utrecht in 1685 in
which year he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Described Haversian canals - spaces in the compact tissue
of bone: Haver's Lamellae - bony septa surrounding the
1691 John Ray in The Wisdom of God Manifested
in the Works of Creation tries to justify some of
the notion of the distinction between genus and species,
stemming from Porphyrus tree.
1693 Edmund Halley (1656 - 1742) establishes that
evaluating mortality requires consideration of closed
populations (no migrations) and stationnary (no yearly
increase). He calculates the chances of death for all ages
(from the figures of the city of Breslau).
1693 John Ray publishes in London his Synopsis
methodica Animalium Quadrupedum et Serpentii generis where
he denies spontaneous generation of animals and tries some
comparative anatomy to group animals together.
1697 Georg Ernst Stahl (Ansbach, 1660 - Berlin,
1734), the originator of the phlogiston theory, formulates
the theory of fermentation in his treatise Zymotechnia
Fundamentalis seu Fermentationis theoria generalis;
he puts forward a primitive concept which later led to
that of enzymes (note the use of the Greek root ζυμος,
yeast), catalyzers of biochemical reactions.