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Marcello Malpighi, Physician and Scientist

Lester S. King, MD
JAMA. 1966;198(1):92. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110140142050.
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A triumph of American scholarship, this massive study1 of Marcello Malpighi (1628-1694) represents an achievement truly stupendous. Actually the work comprises several monographs held together by inner logic. The central core is the embryological discoveries of Malpighi, but to make the analysis meaningful, Adelmann has constructed a vast framework. Realizing that no work can be understood apart from its environment, the author placed Malpighi in a historical context of tremendous scope and thereby contributes profoundly to our understanding of the 17th century. Since Adelmann wants the reader to have direct acquaintance with the first-hand records, he aimed to make these records "accessible and comprehensible." He presents the sources to provide "not only illumination at the focus but also a diffusion of light from it in all directions."

To achieve his goal Adelmann has combed virtually every record which bears on the life of Malpighi— his published works and those of


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