THE HISTORY OF MODERN MEDICAL SCIENCE Part 3

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Outside Interests...

( scroll down to read ) In this third week of my work with The History of Modern Medical Science, I wanted to look at a recurring theme which seem to run through quite a few of the stories from Witnesses To Modern Medical Science. It became apparent to me that the element of hobbies, external interests and passions often led to a greater understanding or insight into some aspect of research

Here you'll find my images inspired by some of the medical history stories which you can read on my blog www.5ftinf.com

Bird Watching...

Professor Estlin Waters for example was an epidemiologist as well as a keen naturalist and spent time on the island of St Kilda writing notes for ornithological journals about birds, particularly the wrens, and grey seals and he could later see the connection with monitoring wildlife to population based research.

The Booth Museum...

I was inspired to take a trip to my local Natural History Museum in Brighton; The Booth Museum. I also wanted to look at some wrens close up as he had been so intrigued by them. The whole museum is like a historical exhibit in itself, being primarily full of Victorian stuffed animals, collections of insects and minerals...

Butterflies...

( scroll down ) While I was there I also wanted to look at the butterflies and moths as there were stories relating to them... Professor Peter Harper, medical geneticist, describes how important it is to sometimes stand back from immediate specifics in one field and look at it as a kind of research problem from first principles. He was quite sure that one of the reasons geneticist Sir Cyril Sharpe chose them to work with was because they were more enjoyable than something like Drosophila ( fruit flies ) !

Butterflies & the common cold...

James Lovelock had worked in the Common Cold Unit when Sir Christopher Andrewes ( the virologist who helped discover the influenza virus ) used to take the researchers to the New Forest looking for butterflies as entomology was his sideline, and it was there they'd discuss what new influenza experiments could be done...

I loved looking at the butterflies and moths as detailed designs; they inspired a new design project for me & so I can see how scientists could look at the genetics of insects & be inspired to take their research into new areas.

Plastics...

Plastic isn’t something I usually get excited about but reading about how it has basically revolutionised work in hospitals is staggering, and to imagine life and health care without it it is actually a bit scary. It made me think how much easier life is, especially for the medical profession, now that we have plastic.

Expense...

( scroll down ) One of the stories connected to plastics, was that Dr Ethel Bidwell ( research scientist in blood coagulation ) was working in Haemophilia research in 1950, helping pathologist, Professor R G Macfarlane, to devise new ways of treating haemophiliacs. She had to collect blood from the local slaughterhouse for her research and only had her Vespa to precariously transport a large glass jar of it, as plastic containers were still very new and too expensive! It conjures up a bit of an odd image but illustrates again how important plastics are.

Speed Reading...

( scroll down ) And finally there is a short witness statement below which, as a very slow reader, I found really interesting, from Professor Alan Baddeley ( Director of MRC Applied Psychology Unit ): "At the Applied Psychology Unit, John Morton, among other things, used to do some research on speed-reading, at least he used to do practicals on speed reading. This would involve all the students being encouraged to bring a paperback book and to read it for x minutes, followed by a period when John would urge them to go faster and faster and faster, and demonstrate then that they could actually read a lot faster, and that there was nothing very magical about it. It was just that we tend to read slowly – it’s a habit."

Inspiration...

( scroll down ) Just to go briefly back to what I said earlier in the post about being inspired by butterflies but in a slightly different way from Sir Cyril Clarke, here are some of the patterns I’ve created from elements of this particular post which are now silk pocket squares. I had absolutely no idea that this project was going to lead me into designing a selection of textiles, and I’ve really enjoyed the fact that my passion for aesthetics has been able to be informed by genetic research, epidemiology, early plastics and the psychology of speed reading!

Next Week + More Info...

I’ll be focusing on elements of comfort including pain relief, native remedies & advancements into home care. You can also find out more about The Modern Biomedicine Research Group funded by The Wellcome Trust, on their website here , their Facebook page here , their YouTube Channel here and their Twitter account here.

More at www.5ftinf.com

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  • copperline

    Fascinating in so many ways - and I love how this project has led you, maybe unexpectedly, to creating textiles! The speed reading is interesting - I've always suspected that with work I'm a fast-ish reader, but with anything else, with anything I want to enjoy, I'm really slow. I didn't think that speed reading was something that could be learned!

  • blowyinthewind

    The details on them are so beautiful

  • blowyinthewind

    I think I'm a speed reader just glancing through and picking bits out I can't read a whole article anymore for some reason

  • adiandbert

    Love this-Reminded me of my inspiration to study zoology for my first degree 💟

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