Come celebrate Vesalius’ 500th birthday!

Portrait of Andreas Vesalius from De humani corporis fabrica

Portrait of Andreas Vesalius from De humani corporis fabrica

The History of Medicine Society will meet at 6:00 pm in the Howe Conference Room of the Library on January 29, 2014, to celebrate the 500th birthday of Andreas Vesalius, the founder of modern human anatomy.  All are welcome to attend.

Vesalius was born in Brussels in 1514 into a family of physicians.  A man of brilliant intellect and boundless energy, he revolutionized the study of anatomy.  Vesalius was author of one of the most influential books on human anatomy, De humani corporis fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body), published in 1543.  The P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library’s first edition of this work, along with a modern English translation, will be displayed at the meeting.

Prior to Vesalius, teaching of anatomy was based on the Greek-speaking Roman physician Galen’s research.  Galen, however, based his study of anatomy on the dissection of pigs, Barbary apes, and dogs as human dissection was outlawed in ancient Rome.  Vesalius challenged some of Galen’s assertions using dissection of the human body.  His international reputation drew huge crowds to the lecture halls where he personally demonstrated all dissections.