Brown Bag Lecture: “Daniel Sennert and the Chymical Causes of Disease”

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Date: October 2, 2012
Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Event Type: Open to the Public
Fee: Free
RSVP Online: No Registration Required

A talk by Joel A. Klein

The Wittenberg professor and physician Daniel Sennert (1572–1637) wrote some of the most widely read texts in medicine, natural philosophy, and chymistry in the first half of the 17th century, and his corpuscularian atomism had an important influence in the history of the Scientific Revolution. In this discussion Joel A. Klein will explore Sennert’s understanding of disease etiology and, in particular, the role of tartar as a chymico-atomical cause of disease. Klein’s research traces the role of tartar within Sennert’s work from a 1608 disputation, wherein he first discussed chymistry, through the 1636 Hypomnemata Physica, a text containing his fully mature atomic philosophy. Sennert applied his understanding of chymistry to such so-called tartarous diseases as gout, arthritis, and kidney stones, reasoning from chymical experiments to chymical cures. This study thus presents an example of the interplay between experimental atomic chymistry, natural philosophy, and academic medicine in the 17th century.

Joel A. Klein is a Ph.D. candidate in the Indiana University Department of History and Philosophy of Science. He has spent the last two years carrying out archival research in Germany via a Fulbright Grant and a DAAD Research Grant. His research interests include the interaction between medicine and chymistry in the 17th century, chymical experimentation, and the recreation of early-modern chymical experiments.

About Brown Bag Lectures

Brown Bag Lectures (BBLs) are a series of weekly informal talks on the history of chemistry or related subjects, including the history and social studies of science, technology, and medicine. Based on original research (sometimes still in progress), these talks are given by local scholars for an audience of CHF staff and fellows and interested members of the public.

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