Born in France, in 1813, Claude Bernard was the founder of modern experimental physiology. At Lyon, he studied to become a playwright, but critics' rejection of his works ended his dramatic aspirations. After serving for several years as a pharmacist's assistant, he became a physician and an exceptionally astute biological scientist. Bernard's investigations in physiology were fruitful and broad in scope. In 1855 he was appointed full professor of medicine at the College de France. By that time he had already explained the chemical and nervous system control of digestion, demonstrated the role of the pancreas in fat metabolism, and discovered the role that bile plays in the digestion of proteins. In the years that followed, he identified the liver as the site of glycogenesis and explained the processes governing vasodilation. Bernard's most important theoretical contribution was proposing the concept of homeostasis, which he called the milieu interieur. Homeostasis is the principle that all of the body's systems are in a constant state of adjustment and that these adjustments maintain equilibrium within the body. Bernard was the first physiologist to demonstrate that the theories and methods of chemistry and physics could contribute to the study of biology. This first use of interdisciplinary techniques broadened the base of physiology and foreshadowed the form that future research in biology would take. Bernard died in 1878.
The poems display precocious virtuosity, mingling the attractions of the flesh with the longings of the spirit. Greek and Hindu myth give way to intimate erotic meditations and wickedly satirical society portraits, mythological landscapes alternate with gritty narratives of mid-nineteenth century Paris, visions of happiness yield to nightmarish glimpses of deep alienation, and real and imaginary characters--including Achilles, Valmiki, Charlemagne, and Spain's baleful King Philip II--all figure as the subject matter of a supremely ambitious young poet.
Poems Under Saturn presents the extraordinary devotion and intense musicality of an artist for whom poetry remained the one true passion.
Stewart Wolf suggests that Claude Bernard's genius in physiological experimentation is similar to the extraordinary Sherlock Holmes' capacity to solve crimes and William Osler's uncanny abilities in clinical diagnosis. Like both of those creative searchers, Claude Bernard typically focused on findings that did not accord with prevailing theory. His curiosity led him to attempt to explain the finding by a tentative hypothesis; he would then devise an experiment. Although he sought for a quantitative result that might serve as a basis of a theory, he had little confidence in statistics as a guide to certainty. Bernard's opposition scientists' prevailing habit of segregating their inquiries into systems rather than studying the unified organism is particularly striking. This volume will be important for those in the medical field as well as those interested in the history of science.