The Weighing Chair of Sanctorius Sanctorius: A Replica View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle      Open Access: True


Article Info

DATE

2018-06

AUTHORS

Teresa Hollerbach

ABSTRACT

In 1614, the physician Sanctorius Sanctorius (1561-1636) published his most famous work entitled Ars […] de statica medicina (On static medicine). This is a work composed of aphorisms that present the practical results of a series of weighing procedures, rather than theoretical observations. De statica medicina is the result of a large number of test series that Sanctorius carried out over many years with the weighing chair he constructed himself in order to quantify the so-called perspiratio insensibilis, an insensible perspiration of the human body. Through his weighing experiments, Sanctorius introduced the idea of quantitative research into physiology. Although historical accounts ascribe an important role to Sanctorius as the founder of a new medical science, up until now the design of his weighing chair and the method of measurement have not been closely analysed. The aim of this paper is to close this gap. Through a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the Technical University of Berlin (Institute of Vocational Education and Work Studies), Sanctorius's weighing chair was reconstructed and experiments carried out with it. This opened new perspectives on Sanctorius's work and led to a reconsideration of the function and purpose of his weighing chair. With his static medicine, Sanctorius repurposed an old instrument. The replication of the weighing chair and the repetition of the experiments demonstrate that this novel application of scales posed some challenges for the mechanical design of the instrument. We recognized that the instrument fulfilled different functions that might in turn have affected its design, precision, and the measuring method applied. Although in the end we could not clarify how Sanctorius actually conducted his measurements, we were nevertheless able to develop an understanding of Sanctorius's mechanical and practical knowledge that would not have been possible for us to develop solely on the basis of the written sources. More... »

PAGES

121-149

References to SciGraph publications

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s00048-018-0193-z

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00048-018-0193-z

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1103973665

PUBMED

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29761203


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