The history of modern medicine

  • 1205 BCE

    Rules of Health

    In 1205 BCE, Moses presented the Rules of Health to the Hebrews. Moses is considered to be the first advocate of preventative medicine and he was also the first public health officer. Since he knew that some diseases could be spread from animals to humans he had a religious law established that forbid humans from eating from contaminated dishes.
  • Period: 1200 BCE to


  • 450 BCE


    Hippocrates, later to be known as "The Father of Medicine", was born in 450 BC on the island of Cos in Greece. He was later in life considered to be the greatest of the ancient Greek physicians. It was Hippocrates who came up with the Hippocratic oath which is still used by physicians today. Hippocrates is accredited for taking the mysticism out of medicine. He believed that the body had the capacity to heal itself.
  • 162

    The Prince of Physicians

    Galen, commonly known as "the Prince of Physicians", migrated to Rome in 162 AD. He is said to have written more than 500 treatises on medicine. He wrote on human anatomy though it was inaccurate. He is considered the Father of Experimental Physiology as well as the first experimental neurologist.
  • Period: Dec 24, 1514 to Dec 25, 1564

    Andreas Vesalius

    Andreas Vesalius was a Belgian anatomist known as the Father of Modern Anatomy. At 29 YOA her published his great De Corporis Humani Fabrica, in which he described the structure of the human body. This work created a turning point which disproved the work of Galen.
  • Period: Dec 24, 1523 to Dec 25, 1562

    Gabriele Fallopius

    An Italian student of Andreas Vesalius, described and named many parts of the human anatomy. He named the fallopian tubes after himself and also named the vagina and placenta.
  • Period: Dec 24, 1578 to

    William Harvey

    William Harvey was the person who announced his discovery that the heart works as a muscular pump, forcing and propelling blood throughout the body.
  • Period: to

    Marcello Malpighi

    Born near Bologna, Italy and attended the University of Bologna where he earned a doctorate in both medicine and philosophy. He pioneered the use of the microscope in the study of plants and animals. Microscopic anatomy became a prerequisite for advances in physiology, embryology, and practical medicine. In 1661 he described the pulmonary and capillary network connecting the smallest arteries with the smallest veins. This validated William Harvey's work.
  • Period: to

    Anton van Leeuwenhoek

    A Dutch linen draper and haberdasher who accidently created magnifying lenses which allowed him to view he microscopic world. He was the first to observe bacteria and protozoa through a lens and his accurate interpretations led to the sciences of bacteriology and protozoology
  • Royal Society of London

    One of the first societies for scientific advancement was formed in 1662 and it was and is still known as the Royal Society of London.
  • Period: to

    John Hunter

    Hunter is known as the "Founder of Scientific Surgery". As an army surgeon he became an expert on gunshot wounds and experimented with tissue transfers. His collection of anatomic and animal specimens formed the basis for the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons.
  • Period: to

    Edward Jenner

    Edward was a student of John Hunter, and was a country physician from Dorsetshire, England. He is considered one of the immortals for his development of the smallpox vaccine.
  • Period: to

    Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis

    Semmelweis was one man who was best known for his fight against puerperal fever, an infectious disease that can be contracted during child-birth. Semmelweis was a Hungarian Physician and history has called him the Savior of Mothers.
  • Rene Laennec

    In 1819 the French physician created the stethoscope. Laennec wrote the book "Treatise on mediate Auscultation and Diseases of the Chest". This book is said to be the most important treatise on disease of thoracic organs ever written.
  • Period: to

    Louis Pasteur

    He was a French chemist but it was his work in bacteriology that he is most renowned. One of his adventures involved the difficulties involved in the fermentation of wine. He averted disaster in France's winemaking industry through the process of pasteurization which he developed. He became involved in the prevention of anthrax. He was honored for his work in diseases such as rabies, chicken cholera, and swine erysipelas.
  • Period: to

    Joseph Lister

    Lister revolutionized surgery through the application of Pasteur's discoveries. He understood the similarities between postsurgical wounds and the process of putrefaction. He proved that these processes were caused by microorganisms. He developed an antiseptic method of surgery by using carbolic acid for sterilization.
  • Period: to

    Robert Koch

    He was a German Physician and he is famous for Koch's Postulates. He introduced many of the tools used in the laboratory such as the culture plate method of isolating bacteria. He discovered the cause of cholera.
  • Johns Hopkins

    In 1890, medical education was greatly influenced by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. The clinical education at the university was superior because the school partnered with Johns Hopkins hospital which had been created expressly for teaching and research by members of the medical faculty.
  • Period: to

    Leopold Auenbrugger

    Developed the use of percussion in diagnosis.