December 31, 2014 marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of one of the most important figures in the history of medicine. He authored one of the most elegant and influential books in scientific history. His investigations revolutionized our understanding of the interior of the human body and the methods physicians use to study and teach about it, reverberating throughout medicine down to the present day.
His name was Andreas Vesalius. He was born into a medical family in what is now Belgium. As a boy he showed a great interest in the dissection of animals, a predilection that disgusted his contemporaries. Yet he persevered, going on to study medicine at both Paris and Padua, then two of the great centers for anatomic research.… Read the rest