Herophilos, the Father of Modern Science: A Brief Biography
In Ancient Greece 335 B.C.E. a child was born in Chalcedon. This child would one day become one of the most influential parts of modern science and medicine as we know it. The baby boy’s name was Herophilos. Not much is known about Herophilos except that he moved away from Chalcedon (now Turkey) and moved to Alexandria early in his life (1). When Herophilos finished his education he became a teacher and an author (1). There are nine known texts he is responsible for, including his book “On Pulses”, which explains blood flow from the heart to arteries (1). He also wrote a book that educates readers about phases of childbirth, called “Midwifery” (1).
Herophilos was a pioneer of many different medical branches. Herophilos’ achievements included a detailed description of the brain, which allowed him to prove that the brain was the engine of human intellect (134). Herophilos got his start with autopsies but not before studying under Praxagoras (1 ). In many parts of the world, it was illegal for anyone to dissect a body. Herophilos stayed in Alexandria because it was legal for him to practice dissections. Herophilos began to get very comfortable with practicing these dissections, that he would do them in public and explain what he was doing (1) . It is believed that Herophilos founded a medical school in Alexandria and that he took on an apprentice, Erasistratus (1). Herophilos did, however, encounter some problems with his practice of medical sciences. Herophilos allegedly practiced vivisections on live criminals (1) . He used this practice to examine the way body organs worked while the person was alive, all done with no anesthetics (1). Herophilos used his dissections to confirm the findings of dissimilarity between arteries and veins in human cadaver dissections in 300 B.C. (1). These discoveries lead him into studying the way the brain works along with other parts of the nervous system.
Herophilos was still confronting controversy for his ideals. Herophilos was one of the first to suggest that the brain was the center for intelligence, not the heart (1). This idea was unpopular because for so long, study of the brain was unheard of. Herophilos’ accomplishments of the brain not only consisted of identifying the uses, but also the parts of the brain. He identified the meninges and ventricles and recognized the division between cerebellum (paraenkephalis) and cerebrum (enkephalos) (1). With further investigation of the brain, the anatomist also discovered the nerves of the brain. Herophilos described the eye nerves (oculomotor), the ear nerves ( auditory), and the tongue nerve (hypoglossal) (1). Herophilos’ discoveries are considered amazing because all of this was done without help of a microscope, considering it was not invented until much later (1). By further investigating the small cavities of the brain Herophilos found, and named, the torcular...