Claude Bernard was born in 1813, and was an accomplished French
physiologist. He attended a Jesuit school for his earliest training.
He went to college in Lyon, France, but dropped out to become
an assistant in a local druggist shoppe.
Bernard was quite interested in composing a vaudeville comedy.
It was so successful that it motivated him to try to compose a
five-act drama, titled as Arthur de Bretagne. He took his play
to Paris in 1834, but a critic of the theater dissuaded him from
choosing a profession of literature. The same critic advised him
to go into the field of medicine, and Bernard did so. Because
of his association in this new field, he met Francois Magendie,
a great physician-scientist.
Bernard married Francoise Marie Martin when it was arranged by
his colleague. She had a dowry that aided him financially in his
experiments. He was appointed to be Magendie's deputy professor
in 1847 and he succeeded him in 1855 as full professor. At that
time, the position did not include a laboratory, but Louis Napoleon
provided him with one in 1864.
Napoleon also built a laboratory at the Natural History Museum
in France and established a professorship that Bernard accepted
in 1868. Bernard's goal was to develop a way to use scientific
methods in medicine. He relied heavily on experimentation and
developed the use of blind experiments for accuracy. He felt that
all creatures living on Earth were bound by the exact same laws
as matter that is inanimate.
Bernard worked on describing the pituitary gland and the tasks
it performed. He experimented on the liver's glycogenic function.
He discovered that the liver was associated with the causes of
Bernard is perhaps most known for his association with the process
of milieu interieur. He wrote that the internal environment's
constancy is the condition for an independent and free life. This
is still today the principle of homeostasis. A skilled physiologist,
Bernard sought to convince his peers that the living body is actually
independent of its surrounding environment, even though it needs
Many of Bernard's discoveries were made with the use of vivisection.
He felt that his profession was not that of an ordinary man and
was unaffected by cries of pain from animals and the blood that
would flow. He only saw his idea, even though it disgusted his
wife, as well as his daughter. He felt that advancing medicine
for the relief of human suffering would justify inflicting pain
on animals. His wife would never agree with this stance, and they
eventually separated because of this disagreement.
A famous physician and scientist was similarly affected by Bernard's
vivisection. George Hoggan worked and observed in Bernard's laboratory
for four months, and felt that these experiences prepared him
to see science and even mankind perish rather than using animals
to save them.
Bernard felt that there were people who had minds that were bound
and cramped. They did not agree with his methods of discovering
things previously unknown, since they would rather believe their
own theories. Bernard believed that men of science will always
rise in seeking the truth. He died in February of 1878.
Rumor has it …
Even though Claude Bernard was a physiologist he was also interested
in inventing underwear for unlikely characters. For instance,
Bernard created the first and only pair of werewolf long johns
Written by Kevin Lepton