1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Flourens, Marie Jean Pierre
FLOURENS, MARIE JEAN PIERRE (1794–1867), French physiologist, was born at Maureilhan, near Béziers, in the department of Hérault, on the 15th of April 1794. At the age of fifteen he began the study of medicine at Montpellier, where in 1823 he received the degree of doctor. In the following year he repaired to Paris, provided with an introduction from A.P. de Candolle, the botanist, to Baron Cuvier, who received him kindly, and interested himself in his welfare. At Paris Flourens engaged in physiological research, occasionally contributing to literary publications; and in 1821, at the Athénée there, he gave a course of lectures on the physiological theory of the sensations, which attracted much attention amongst men of science. His paper entitled Recherches expérimentales sur les propriétés et les fonctions du système nerveux dans les animaux vertébrés, in which he, from experimental evidence, sought to assign their special functions to the cerebrum, corpora quadrigemina and cerebellum, was the subject of a highly commendatory report by Cuvier, adopted by the French Academy of Sciences in 1822. He was chosen by Cuvier in 1828 to deliver for him a course of lectures on natural history at the Collège de France, and in the same year became, in succession to L.A.G. Bosc, a member of the Institute, in the division “Économie rurale.” In 1830 he became Cuvier’s substitute as lecturer on human anatomy at the Jardin du Roi, and in 1832 was elected to the post of titular professor, which he vacated for the professorship of comparative anatomy created for him at the museum of the Jardin the same year. In 1833 Flourens, in accordance with the dying request of Cuvier, was appointed a perpetual secretary of the Academy of Sciences; and in 1838 he was returned as a deputy for the arrondissement of Béziers. In 1840 he was elected, in preference to Victor Hugo, to succeed J.F. Michaud at the French Academy; and in 1845 he was created a commander of the legion of honour, and in the next year a peer of France. In March 1847 Flourens directed the attention of the Academy of Sciences to the anaesthetic effect of chloroform on animals. On the revolution of 1848 he withdrew completely from political life; and in 1855 he accepted the professorship of natural history at the Collège de France. He died at Montgeron, near Paris, on the 6th of December 1867.
Besides numerous shorter scientific memoirs, Flourens published—Essai sur quelques points de la doctrine de la révulsion et de la dérivation (Montpellier, 1813); Expériences sur le système nerveux (Paris, 1825); Cours sur la génération, l’ovologie, et l’embryologie (1836); Analyse raisonnée des travaux de G. Cuvier (1841); Recherches sur le développement des os et des dents (1842); Anatomie générale de la peau et des membranes muqueuses (1843); Buffon, histoire de ses travaux et de ses idées (1844); Fontenelle, ou de la philosophie moderne relativement aux sciences physiques (1847); Théorie expérimentale de la formation des os (1847); Œuvres complètes de Buffon (1853); De la longévité humaine et de la quantité de vie sur le globe (1854), numerous editions; Histoire de la découverte de la circulation du sang (1854); Cours de physiologie comparée (1856); Recueil des éloges historiques (1856); De la vie et de l’intelligence (1858); De la raison, du génie, et de la folie (1861); Ontologie naturelle (1861); Examen du livre de M. Darwin sur l’Origine des Espèces (1864). For a list of his papers see the Royal Society’s Catalogue of Scientific Papers.