I'm fascinated by imaginary body parts: things which people used to believe existed, but which we no longer accept. I've recently read Naomi Alderman's novel The Power, which is based on the notion of a new part, the 'skein', developing in women and allowing them to zap men. Back in 2012, the Queen’s… Continue reading Imaginary body parts
“Do you want to know a secret?” Knowledge is power, but who knew what about women's bodies in the ancient world?
Every other year, I lead a tour group which visits two historic anatomy theatres: the oldest permanent structure, the Padua anatomy theatre of 1594, and the 1638-39 one in Bologna. Before 1594, anatomy theatres were temporary structures, in some cases erected at the expense of the professor performing the dissection. On the tour, we usually… Continue reading Theatres of Anatomy
While we're thinking about Vesalius and dissection, here's a question. Do you know the ‘Where’s Wally?’ series (in the US and Canada, ‘Where’s Waldo?’)? Readers are faced with a busy scene and are asked to find Wally, distinguished by his red-and-white striped shirt, bobble hat and glasses. When I've taught fourth-year medical students about the… Continue reading Where’s Hippocrates?
While we're on the theme of dissection... I was recently talking to a breakfast group about ‘Bodies, ancient and modern’. No, I don’t know why they wanted to hear about bodies at breakfast, either – I prefer to focus on my muesli. In the section in which I talked about the history of gaining knowledge… Continue reading Bodies at breakfast, and a grand day out