Andreas Vesalius Father Of Modern Anatomy

1413 words - 6 pages

Andreas Vesalius was born during the Renaissance – an era renowned for its emphasis of humanism and resurrection of classical texts. During this time period, classical texts were used in all areas of the academic world, including science. When Vesalius entered the academic world, he attended some of the top medical universities in Europe. During his time in university, Vesalius chose to “devote much effort into the investigation of the structure of man.” He was exposed to many great scientific texts, works and lecturers – but, unsatisfied with course texts and lessons, he decided to enter his own realm of study. Through his own work, Vesalius reinvented the study ...view middle of the document...

”Vesalius, however insisted on performing dissections himself, and believed that a lecturer on anatomy must be able to dissect a cadaver himself and trust his own eyes more than authoritative text . The practice of relying on observation and experiment, without the aid of authority or theory in gaining of knowledge are some of the fundamentals of empiricism; which also happens to be a fundamental aspect of contemporary scientific study. Through hands on, empirical research, Vesalius was able to correct many flaws that had been found in the previous works of great theorists – including Galen. Empirical research would later lead Vesalius to create monumentally important publications in the school of anatomy, which would change methods of scientific study, as well as provide accurate depictions of the human anatomy.The book was called De Humani Corporis Fabrica – translated, reads On the Structure of the Human Body, and was published in 1543. It was a notebook that held what Vesalius had concluded through his research of dissecting human bodies. With this monumental book, Vesalius brought the study of human anatomy out of a sleep that had lasted for centuries. Vesalius wrote the book to demonstrate a simple idea: “that the study of human anatomy must be based on the dissection of human bodies.” In other words, empirical research is necessary in the study of natural science. For more than a thousand years the study of human anatomy was based on the works of Galen, a second century physician who openly admitted to having never dissected a human body; but primarily worked with apes native to Europe. Vesalius’s models and research were done on actual human bodies, instead of apes, completely revolutionizing the understanding of the human body, as well as redefining methods of anatomical study. This publication also included a detailed description on the theory of mechanical ventilation – a theory which has evolved and is used today in all artificial respiration devices. Vesalius established the principle that scientific knowledge is found by observing nature, not by reading and analyzing ancient texts. His Fabrica recorded the first sizeable body of scientific observation relating to human anatomy since the ancient Greek times, and its publication marked the dawn of a new era in physiological research.To accompany his written work, and with the aide of some of the more proficient artists in the area, Vesalius felt it necessary to include detailed illustrations on all segments of the body. Previously, students were able to purchase “fugitive sheets”; which were sheets of paper with anatomical drawings. These sheets were crudely drawn and incorrect . Vesalius’s illustrations were much more advanced than these, and everything else available. His work included diagrams on circulatory systems, heart ventricles, muscle layers and the fullest description of the anatomy of the brain available. And beca...


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