Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/764

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

been directed more toward general physiology than before; and the first volume of lectures, published after his health had become partially restored, was more philosophical in its scope than his earlier writings. Still, his tendency was always toward original investigation, and, in his reasoning, he closely followed the deductive method.

It is difficult for one who has not followed closely the progress of physiology for the past quarter of a century to appreciate the full merit of the original work accomplished by Bernard, and the immense influence which he and his followers have exerted by the impulse they have given to the experimental and deductive method. His studies in the nervous system resulted not only in a number of important discoveries, but in the adoption of many entirely novel methods of experimentation. His discovery of the production of sugar by the liver gave the first definite idea of the possible function of a ductless gland. The discovery of the digestion of fats by the pancreas gave to physiologists the first positive fact with regard to intestinal digestion. The discovery of the influence of the sympathetic system of nerves over animal heat, made in 1851, opened the subject of the relations of the nervous system to nutrition and the action of the vaso-motor nerves; and examples of this kind might be largely extended in number.

The importance of the labors of Bernard was fully recognized in France, where he long held the highest professorial positions, and was the recipient of many honors from his government. He was assistant and prosector to Magendie from 1841 to the time of the death of Magendie in 1855, and acted as his substitute at the College of France from 1847 to 1855. In 1843 he took his medical degree. In 1853 he took the degree of Doctor of Sciences, and was appointed to the chair of General Physiology which was created for him at the Faculty of Sciences. In 1855 he succeeded Magendie as Professor of Medicine at the College of France. In 1868 he was appointed professor at the Museum of Natural History. He was elected a member of the Academy of Medicine in 1861, perpetual President of the Society of Biology in 1867, and a member of the Institute of France in 1869. In 1867 he was appointed commander in the Legion of Honor, and Senator of France in 1869. At the time of his death he was a member of most of the learned societies of Europe, and of several in America. In the French Chamber of Deputies, when his death was announced, his memory received the unusual honor of a unanimous vote decreeing that his funeral be conducted at the expense of the state.

Such, in brief, was the career of one who was the greatest physiologist of the nineteenth century. His labors extended over a period of thirty-five years. They were untiring and most fruitful in practical results. It may be truly said that he ended his work only with his life, and he corrected the last proofs of a series of lectures, published after his death, upon the bed of sickness from which he never arose.