Galileo and the Health Sciences

Hildegard of Bingen: An Abbess for Health Care

Hildegard of Bingen Learning Leaflet

Why did people come to Hildegard’s convent? 

Hildegard of Bingen, Abbess of convents at Rupertsberg and Elbingen in the 12th century, explained their herbal remedies and medical procedures in her book Physica. In addition to this work on medicine, Hildegard wrote other works on cosmology and theology, corresponded in nearly 400 letters with abbots, popes and emperors, and created at least 70 musical compositions. This OER explores the significance of Hildegard of Bingen.


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Florence Nightingale: Professionalized Health Care

Florence Nightingale Learning Leaflet

How does the visual presentation of statistical evidence support professionalization of health care?

Florence Nightingale championed social reform and the organization of nursing as a profession. During the Crimean War, she organized the care of injured soldiers, making the rounds at night as the ÐLady with the lamp.Ð Her emphasis on hygiene and hand washing dramatically reduced the death rate. This OER explores the breadth of Nightingale's work in the nineteenth century.


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Edward Jenner: The Mystery of the Milkmaids

Edward Jenner Learning Leaflet

Edward Jenner was a physician in the eighteenth and nineteenth century who studied the disease known as cowpox. Traditional medical knowledge demonstrated that milkmaids who contracted the disease cowpox became immune to smallpox. On account of this information Jenner surmised that pus from cowpox blisters (such as shown in the pictures) could be used to inoculate against smallpox. Learn more about Jenner, vaccines, and immunology in this learning leaflet.


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Section 1: Anatomy

Galileo’s intellectual circle included artists, engineers and physicians. Leonardo da Vinci was not the only artist who engaged in dissections and constructed machines. Renaissance artists studied anatomy with medical students, engineers studied drawing with artists, and physicians applied mechanical concepts to open up new ways of understanding the human body. The common conversation among artists, engineers and physicians is manifest in the artistic and mechanical aspects of these anatomical works.