My review of Robert Anderson's The Cradle of Chemistry: The Early Years of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2015) just appeared in the September issue of the flagship of the history of science profession Isis, volume 107 (2016), 634–635.
Urine was in de 18de eeuw goed voor vele toepassingen, ontdekte Verwaal. Bijvoorbeeld om te ontvetten en te reinigen, wisten leerlooiers, de lakennijverheid en de textielindustrie.
Van onze verslaggever Cor Speksnijder
Schoonmaakmiddel, bodylotion of oogwater. Tegenwoordig trekken we snel de wc door, vroeger kende urine tal van toepassingen. Ruben Verwaal, medisch historicus en promovendus aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, doet onderzoek naar het gebruik van urine en andere lichaamsvloeistoffen in het dagelijks leven en in de wetenschap van de 18de eeuw.
How much does sweat weigh? And why is urine such a good moisturiser? Ruben Verwaal discovered that 18th century scientists used primitive chemistry to study bodily fluids.
By Christien Boomsma
So there he was: Santorio Santorio. The early 17th century Italian doctor had constructed a giant ‘weighing chair’, in which he spent most of his day. The construction was intended to help him study his own metabolism. How much did he weigh at the beginning of the day? How much did his food weigh? How much did he poop or pee? And most importantly: was there a difference?
Imagine yourself as an 18th-century medical student at Leiden university. You are curious to know why you sometimes feel all weak and limp, while elderly people may have stiff muscles. Why can there be days you suffer from constipation, while on other days you have diarrhoea?