Great Feuds in Medicine: Ten of the Liveliest Disputes Ever

Great Feuds in Medicine: Ten of the Liveliest Disputes Ever

by Hal Hellman
     
 

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From seventeenth-century anatomist William Harvey to twentieth-century lightning rod Sigmund Freud, countless researchers, physicians, and scientists have found themselves -- and their work -- at the center of raging disputes that have destroyed careers and lives. In this captivating follow-up to his acclaimed Great Feuds in Science, Hal Hellman tells the entertaining… See more details below

Overview

From seventeenth-century anatomist William Harvey to twentieth-century lightning rod Sigmund Freud, countless researchers, physicians, and scientists have found themselves -- and their work -- at the center of raging disputes that have destroyed careers and lives. In this captivating follow-up to his acclaimed Great Feuds in Science, Hal Hellman tells the entertaining stories of the most heated and important of these disputes. Highlighting both famous (Sabin vs. Salk) and lesser-known (Galvani vs. Volta) clashes, he offers a front-row seat at the signal bouts of medical history.

Editorial Reviews

San Diego Union Tribune
Hellman reveals just how human science can be...While such fights, which sometimes got personal and even led to individual suffering and ruin, are not pretty, they are informative.
Nature
Hellman has assembled a series of entertaining tales...Many fine examples of heady invective without parallel in our time.
American Scientist
Unusual insight into the develpment of science...I was excited by this book and enthusiastically recommend it to general as well as scienctific audiences.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1761 German physician Leopold Auenbrugger remarked, "It has always been the fate of those who have illustrated or improved the arts and sciences by their discoveries to be beset by envy, malice, hatred, destruction and calumny." Following Great Feuds in Science, Hellman (Beyond Your Senses) now documents 10 dramatic medical disputes. British anatomist William Harvey's 1628 discovery of blood circulation challenged anatomical theory and caused his ostracism by the scientific community. In the late 18th-century, electrical disputes raged between Galvani whose "animal electricity" theory, to modern sensibilities, borders on the occult, though it garnered immediate support and prefigured current studies of electricity and paralysis and Volta, who worked to disprove Galvani. Claude Bernard's experiments on animals, in his studies of the nervous system, caused outrage among antivivisectionists and led to his being disowned by his family. Hungarian obstetrician Ignaz Semmelweis was committed to a mental hospital after the Viennese medical establishment rejected his hypothesis that unsanitary conditions in his workplace (doctors went from an autopsy to a birth without washing their hands) caused the high infection and death rate among patients. Other chapters address "Freud bashing," Sabin vs. Salk (polio vaccine) and Gallo vs. Montagnier (AIDS). Hellman eschews comprehensiveness for pith and entertainment, neglecting no unusual "twist," "strange coincidence," "cloud of suspicion" or "lucky break" to heighten the drama of these medical milestones. (Mar. 9) Forecast: Hellman's well-received books and articles (in the New York Times, Omni, Reader's Digest, etc.), and the success of popular science writing ensure his continuing appeal to serious science buffs, history fans, and casual readers alike. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Following his , popular science writer Hellman begins with Harvey and the circulation of blood, and ends with the debate over AIDS and HIV. Between, he considers animal electricity, vivisection, germ theory, psychoanalysis, polio, the structure of DNA, and other controversies. He shows how in many cases the conflicts forced scientists to new discoveries to defend their ideas. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
Science writer Hellman (Beyond Your Senses, 1997) chronicles ten important medical advances with emphasis on the struggle and bitterness that accompanied each. Beginning in the 17th century with William Harvey's frustrating effort to persuade his colleagues that blood circulates, the narrative closes in the 1980s, relating the scandalous dispute between Robert Gallo and Luc Montagnier over who discovered the AIDS virus. Only one chapter concerns a genuine scientific feud (the lifetime quarrel between Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin over the superiority of injectable versus oral polio vaccine); the others recount the noisy contention that accompanies a controversial new idea. All these ideas eventually triumphed, but the speed of their victory depended less on evidence than the personality of the scientist who discovered them. Pugnacious Louis Pasteur loved a fight and generally won by a knockout. Freud never convinced his enemies in the medical profession, who are still denouncing him; his triumph lay in convincing everyone else who mattered, so much so that Freudian analysis became an icon for 20th-century intellectuals. Hellman's rather schematic history revels in heroes and villains, and he occasionally falls into the trap of portraying historical figures who were wrong as stupider or more narrow-minded than those who were right, so sophisticated readers should look elsewhere. Yet the author avoids most clichés of popular science writing and has clearly read every secondary source. He often reviews works of other historians to illustrate how opinion has changed over the years, pointing out that even Pasteur has been charged with cooking his results and that feminists accuseJamesWatson and Francis Crick not only of looking down their noses at Rosalind Franklin but of stealing her data to make the model of the DNA molecule that won them the Nobel Prize. A simple but solid introduction to the history of medicine.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471045601
Publisher:
Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/17/2001
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
File size:
0 MB

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