In 1686, a surgeon was called to remove an anal fistula from Louis XIV of France — something he most likely did with a modified barber's razor, as surgeons of the time belonged to the same profession as barbers and wigmakers, says New Scientist's CultureLab. A new exhibition at the Palace of Versailles shows Louis XIV to have been a supporter of the sciences, as he established a national academy of sciences in 1666 and oversaw the beginning of more than a century of scientific development. His great-grandson, Louis XV, and his great-great-great-grandson, Louis XVI, continued the tradition of promoting the sciences, right up until the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century, CultureLab says. They oversaw discoveries and inventions in botany, midwifery, veterinary science, and world exploration. The Academy of Sciences was "another victim of the revolution," CultureLab adds, but it was reborn in 1795 and still endures to this day in France — and finally saw surgery become its own profession practiced by trained professionals on equal footing with physicians.
Promoting Science, Sun King-Style
Dec 15, 2010