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François Magendie, French Physiologist
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Magendie portrait by Paulin Jean Baptiste Guérin. Engraving of Magendie from 1822. François Magendie (1783-1855) was a French physiologist, considered a pioneer of experimental physiology. He is known for describing the foramen of Magendie. His most important contribution to science was also his most disputed. Magendie conducted a number of experiments on the nervous system, in particular verifying the differentiation between sensory and motor nerves in the spinal cord, the Bell-Magendie law. The English claimed that Bell published his discoveries first and that Magendie stole his experiments. Magendie was also a notorious vivisector, shocking even many of his contemporaries with the live dissections that he performed at public lectures in physiology. He was a major impetus to the antivivisection and vivisection reform movements. He died in 1855 a day after his 72nd birthday.
March 7th, 2013
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