Physicians, chemists and experimentalists: the Royal Society and the rise of scientific medicine, c. 1600-1850

View Physicians, chemists and experimentalists: the Royal Society and the rise of scientific medicine, c. 1600-1850

Presenter: Allan Chapman

Published: October 2013

Age: 14-19 and upwards

Views: 558 views

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Type: Lectures

Source/institution: Royal Society


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The period 1600-1850 saw fundamental changes in how we understand natural processes. Chemistry and medicine especially moved away from classical ideas of ‘balance’ and ‘vital properties’ – such as fire and water – to understanding nature as an integrated mechanism. And the way to investigate nature’s mechanism was experiment. This would lead Harvey, Hooke, Hunter, Bichat, and many others to a new approach to physiology which developed in tandem with new ideas on how matter behaved: from Boyle’s experiments on the vacuum and combustion in the early Royal Society to Lavoisier and on to what would become the Periodic Table of Elements.