Henry Smith Williams

The development of the science of chemistry from the "science" of alchemy is a striking example of the complete revolution in the attitude of observers in the field of science. As has been pointed out in a preceding chapter, the alchemist, having a preconceived idea of how things should be, made all his experiments to prove his preconceived theory; while the chemist reverses this attitude of mind and bases his conceptions on the results of his laboratory experiments. In short, chemistry is what alchemy never could be, an inductive science.


An epoch in physiology was made in the eighteenth century by the genius and efforts of Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777), of Berne, who is perhaps as worthy of the title "The Great" as any philosopher who has been so christened by his contemporaries since the time of Hippocrates. Celebrated as a physician, he was proficient in various fields, being equally famed in his own time as poet, botanist, and statesman, and dividing his attention between art and science.



At least two pupils of William Harvey distinguished themselves in medicine, Giorgio Baglivi (1669-1707), who has been called the "Italian Sydenham," and Hermann Boerhaave (1668-1738). The work of Baglivi was hardly begun before his early death removed one of the most promising of the early eighteenth-century physicians. Like Boerhaave, he represents a type of skilled, practical clinitian rather than the abstract scientist. One of his contributions to medical literature is the first accurate description of typhoid, or, as he calls it, mesenteric fever.

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