Thomas Willis Facts

Thomas Willis Facts
Thomas Willis (January 27, 1621 to November 11, 1675) was a British doctor and prominent iatrochemist.
Interesting Thomas Willis Facts:
Thomas Willis was born on a farm in Great Bedwyn.
In 1642 he earned an M.A. from Christ's Church, Oxford.
In 1646 he received his medical degree but had initial difficulty in opening a practice.
He spent several years at Oxford studying with a group of scientists who called themselves the experimental philosophical club.
Other club members were Christopher Wren, Robert Boyle, John Locke and John Hooke.
One of his areas of interest was fermentation.
In 1659 he published Distribae duae medico-philosophiae on his research into the basis of life.
Willis remained a loyalist during the civil war and Anglican services were held at his home.
After the Restoration, Willis was rewarded for his loyalty to the Crown and the church.
From 1660 to 1675 he was a Professor of Natural Philosophy at Oxford University.
In 1664 he published Cerebri Anatome, cui accessit Nervorum descriptio et usus ("Anatomy of the Brain, with a Description of the Nerves and Their function").
The first chapter of the book made a major contribution to anatomy by describing a systematic method for the study of the nervous system.
In the dedication to the book he states that anatomy "can unlock the secret places of Man's Mind and look into the living and breathing Chapel of the Deity."
During the seventeenth century many scientists studied the natural world to gain a deeper understanding of God and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ.
Willis hoped, by his study of anatomy, to find new information on the brain and soul for his Oxford lectures.
In 1667 he published Pathologiae cerebri et nervosi generis specimen.
In 1672 he published De anima brutorum which contained more of his nervous system studies.
Although Willis's work produced no religious ideas, it was the most detailed and accurate description of the nervous system up to that time.
It was the definitive book on the anatomy of the nervous system for 200 years.
He was the first to describe the continuity of arteries that supply blood to the brain and they are named the Circle of Willis in his honor.
In his writing Willis frequently noted the similarities in anatomical structures and their uses between humans and animals.
In 1671 he became the first to describe myasthenia gravis.
He is credited with identifying and named puerperal fever.


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