For over 450 years, students have been studying anatomy at Cambridge through whole body dissection. But students find that they learn far more than just the architecture of the human body during their classes.
A hand-coloured copy of Vesalius’ 1543 Epitome – one of the most influential works in western medicine – and the first written record of a dissection carried out in England are among the objects in our latest film celebrating Lines of Thought at Cambridge University Library.
A study of the University of Cambridge anatomy collection dating from the 1700s and 1800s shows how the bodies of stillborn foetuses and babies were valued for research into human development, and preserved as important teaching aids.
Latest analysis shows that human limbs share a genetic programme with the gills of cartilaginous fishes such as sharks and skates, providing evidence to support a century-old theory on the origin of limbs that had been widely discounted.
Some of the world’s most valuable books and manuscripts – texts which have altered the very fabric of our understanding – will go on display in Cambridge this week as Cambridge University Library celebrates its 600th birthday with a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of its greatest treasures.
Born 500 years ago, Andreas Vesalius has iconic status in the history of science. Cambridge University Library holds several copies of the remarkable books that he published to revive the lost art of anatomy and promote his own career as a physician. Historian Dr Sachiko Kusukawa has curated an online exhibition to celebrate Vesalius's achievements.
In a talk on 17 February, Margaret Carlyle, a researcher in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, will explore the fascinating (often gruesome) development in 18th-century Paris of anatomical models and introduce her audience to a remarkable woman who made her name in a field dominated by men.