Rare Bites presents - "The circle of Willis and his circle of friends”: Thomas Willis Cerebri anatome cui accessit nervorum description et usus (Amstelodami, apud Gerbrandum Schagen, 1664).
Rare Bites, presented by Rare Books & Special Collections at the University Library, is a series of lunchtime talks throughout semester, showcasing treasures and some lesser-known gems from our collections. Come along and learn something new, and see the item discussed on display. Held at a variety of locations across campus.
Cate Storey will be basing her Rare Bites lunchtime talk on the 17th Century text Cerebri anatome, by Thomas Wills. “Every medical student knows about the Circle of Willis, but hardly ever knows anything about the man whose name he thus uses, nor about his accomplishments” (Isler 1968). This little book is now just over 350 years old. Within these pages, Willis introduced new concepts of disease, new methods of investigation and brand new words such as ‘neurology’. Yet the book is best known for the exquisite drawing of the arteries at the base of the brain drawn by one of Willis’ colleagues, Christopher Wren, for which Willis would receive nominal immortality. The ‘circle’ however, is possibly better known today than when the book was originally published and has a history all of its own.
Speaker: Catherine Storey is a Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Sydney. She was a neurologist at the Royal North Shore Hospital until retirement. She has completed an MSc in the Unit of History and Philosophy of Science, and is a member of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences. Cate has a passion for the history of neurology and the books that have contributed to this specialty.