Lifeblood: Chemistry of Blood in Eighteenth-Century Medicine

Verwaal, R., 19-Nov-2015.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

Was early eighteenth-century chemistry merely a handmaid to medicine? This paper aims to reassess assumptions about the relation between chemistry and medicine in the early modern period and argues that chemistry played a central role in medicine. The fluid and flow of blood can serve as a starting point to trace developments of academic chemistry at medical faculties. Dutch physicians and university professors such as Herman Boerhaave and Jerome Gaub analyzed blood in retorts and flasks. Additionally, chemical examinations of blood ignited new ideas and theories about physiology and pathology. The unique properties of blood in the body, such as coagulation, were believed to be only understood by chemistry. To understand blood’s constituent parts and properties were believed to be of great advantages to understand the signs of health and disease. Thus, the focus on the chemistry of blood can provide a new perspective on eighteenth-century perceptions of the living body and the academic transformation of chemistry.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19-Nov-2015
EventHistory of Science Society (HSS) Annual Conference - San Francisco, United States
Duration: 19-Nov-201522-Nov-2015


ConferenceHistory of Science Society (HSS) Annual Conference
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


History of Science Society (HSS) Annual Conference


San Francisco, United States

Event: Conference

ID: 26231733