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Medicina Statica

Santorio Santorio was an Italian physician in the 1700s who performed experiments so precise, they named him twice. He’s best known for Medicina Statica, a collection of research which, among other things, details his experiments with “insensible perspiration.” Santorio would weigh what he consumed both before and after it was digested. The results concluded that a fair amount of what he put into his body was lost through his skin.

Fascinating stuff from the University of Virginia’s vault of historical collections:

“Santorio made more than theoretical contributions to science and medicine. He is credited with inventing a wind gauge, a water current meter, the “pulsilogium” to measure the pulse rate, an instrument to remove bladder stones, and a trocar to drain fluid from cavities. Both he and his friend Galileo mentioned the thermoscope, a precursor to the thermometer. There is debate over the actual inventor, but it is known that Santorio was the first to add a numerical scale to the instrument.”

And putting him soundly in the “mad scientist” category is the fact that he invented a precursor to the waterbed. It’s unclear whether or not it was filled with insensible perspiration, but it was probably hard to hump on.

via Claude Moore Health Sciences Library