Thursday, November 29, 2007

At the Other End of the Microscope

Everyone but Wikipedia agrees that Friday is the 313th anniversary of the death of Marcello Malpighi, the father of microscopical anatomy, so the mistake is but a small thing. It's difficult to imagine that setting out as a young researcher, Malpighi yearned to have his name attached to corpuscles in the kidney and spleen, let alone a tubule in the excretory system of insects, but we all can't be Thomas Crapper and invent the flush toilet* and in that way go down in history (why, yes, history swirls in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere). Malpighi also was the first person to see capillaries, realize they connected arteries and veins, and not say yuckoso. This discovery was particularly a shock to the frog to whom the capillaries belonged. Malpighi did have a storied academic career, studying at the University of Bologna (I always loved their fight song: "My university has a first name..."), taking a professorship of theoretical medicine--since humans didn't know enough to really have medicine yet--at Pisa, well, he was leaning towards taking that job, and then working at the University of Messina years before it merged with Loggins College.

*OK, he just popularized it. But sometimes being accurate ruins a joke. It's not like I did any Powelling--lying about WMDs--or something.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You made Dad laugh hard,

8:04 PM  
Blogger CLD said...

"My university has a first name..."

Coffee now adorns my monitor, thanks to you and my nose.

6:20 AM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

funny, george, right up until the powell joke. why must you always ruin your funny posts for me?

10:20 AM  
Blogger George said...

Maxwell--you are a good dog. Tell your dad to give you an extra treat.

CLD--sorry. Will try to add "No drinking while reading" warnings. As long as I don't have to have no blogging while drinking rules.

McC--You get to have your president and your Iraq War. I get to dim your day a tiny bit. Thanks for letting me have some small solace.

10:47 AM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

You're welcome George. Keep it up.

1:02 PM  

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