John p derham cato

John p derham cato

John p derham cato

John P. Derham (c.1688-1761), was an English physician and writer. Derham lived in London and worked at St Bartholomew's Hospital (although he died at the age of 62 he was buried at St Paul's Cathedral) and at Oxford University. He attended Cambridge University and was also a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He has been described as the "founding father of English psychology" and the father of descriptive anatomy. His book, The Anatomy of the Human Body Examin'd, appeared in 1733 and was described by William Derham, Derham's father, as "the best work of its kind in the English language". It formed the basis for one of the first descriptions of the anatomical human brn. Derham's work greatly contributed to the birth of modern neuroanatomy, and had a profound effect on the foundations of Western science, inspiring Isaac Newton to write Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

Early life

Derham was born in London and educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, from which he graduated in 1699 with an MA degree. In 1708 Derham took up his father's practice as a doctor in London. After working at St Bartholomew's Hospital for 17 years, he joined the Royal Society as a Fellow on 5 January 1721. He was at this time also a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. It was at St Bartholomew's that he befriended Erasmus Darwin.


Life in London

By 1717, the same year that he received the Doctorate of Medicine from Trinity College, Cambridge, Derham was living in London, and in the same year he published A Treatise on the Venereal Disease of Women. It was, however, his work published in 1733 as An Analysis of Man, that would set the foundations of modern scientific anatomy, not only for medical study, but for the work of scientists in all disciplines of enquiry. In it he describes the four bodily parts known to him as the brn, the heart, the lungs and the liver. He also describes the muscles, the bones, the intestines and the bladder. However, Derham's life in London was not entirely successful, and he was accused of practicing witchcraft in 1719, and was ordered by the Middlesex sessions court to be imprisoned in the house of correction. However, this was no great matter, and did not seriously impinge on Derham's professional practice. He lived in London until his death.

Life in Oxford

He left London, and moved to Oxford, where he lived for most of the rest of his life. He continued to practice medicine and in 1731 he wrote An Essay upon Venereal Diseases, which is still cited as a treatise on the subject. It is thought that during the period between the publication of the Anatomy of the Brn in 1732 and that of his book on the Venereal Disease of Women in 1733, he became engaged to Mary Horner, who later became the first Lady Margaret Professor of Physic at the University.

He was a prolific writer, producing books on a wide range of subjects, such as the anatomy of plants, including the anatomy of orchids, and the life and practice of the philosopher, Francis Bacon.

Death and legacy

He died on 10 September 1736. He was unmarried, but had two sisters, Martha and Mary, who were also physicians. After his death his practice was taken over by his nephews, Thomas Derham and John Derham, and passed into the family of the latter, who was the son of his younger sister, Mary.

Derham's name is still occasionally used as a scientific name for fungi of the mushroom class Agaricomycetes (e.g. Agaricus Derhamii, a species of mushroom), and for the type genus Dermatocybe.


External links

Category:1684 births

Category:1736 deaths

Category:English botanists

Category:Fellows of the Royal Society

Category:Alumni of the University of Edinburgh

Category:People from Oxford

Category:18th-century English medical doctors

Category:English mycologists

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