Amid these stirring times when the invasion of Belgium and the news of the destruction of Louvain— an ancient seat of learning—have been proclaimed far and wide, we recall the name of an illustrious Belgian man of science whose work has marked an epoch in the history of medicine. The week just closing celebrates the four hundredth anniversary of the birth of Andreas Vesalius, the father of modern anatomy. Born in Brussels on the last day of the year 1514 of an ancestry of physicians and learned men, from whom he inherited a leaning toward scientific pursuits, Vesalius studied at the University of Louvain, later at Paris, again at Louvain and in Italy. He died in 1564.
To appreciate the service which Vesalius rendered to the cause of science, it is necessary to remember that medicine in the sixteenth century was still under the dominance of the doctrines of Galen.