Fluid Bodies: Physiology and Chemistry in the Eighteenth-Century Boerhaave School

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    Blood, urine, mother's milk, sweat and semen – why would you want to research these? Fluid Bodies argues that at the turn of the eighteenth century new research methods and instruments crucially changed the perception of bodily fluids, and that this contributed to a new system of medicine. While Paracelsian and Cartesian theories had completely dismissed humoral theory, professor Herman Boerhaave and other Dutch physicians developed a new appreciation for the fluids. After all, to better understand physiology – reproduction, digestion, circulation, perspiration, secretion, etc. – one needs the fluids. Thanks to thermometers and hydrometers, chemical laboratoria to mix and separate materials, and to perform chemical processes such as distillation and fermentation, physicians gained new insights into the nature and changeability of the fluids. Indeed, at the turn of the eighteenth century, the application of new instruments and methods to bodily fluids led to an extraordinary set of changes which reinvented ancient humoral theory and established a new and irenic physiology of the fluids.
    Translated title of the contributionVloeibare lichamen: Fysiologie en scheikunde in de achttiende-eeuwse Boerhaave school
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • Esser, Raingard, Supervisor
    • Knoeff, Rina, Co-supervisor
    Award date14-Jun-2018
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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