Claude Bernard was an eminent French physiologist, noted for his groundbreaking research regarding the function of the pancreas, the liver and the vasomotor nerves. Widely credited as one of the founders of experimental medicine, he played a vital role in laying down the basic rules of experimentation in the life sciences.
Early Life and Education:
Born in Saint-Julien, a small village near Villefranche-sur-Saône in France in 1813, Claude Bernard studied in the Jesuit school.
Contributions and Achievements:
Claude Bernard worked at the laboratory of Francois Magendie at the Collège de France in 1811, where he wrote his legendary work “The constancy of the internal environment is the condition for a free and independent life”, which laid the groundwork for modern homeostasis by presenting the concept of the internal environment of the organism. He was the one of the earliest physilogists to explain the role of the pancreas in digestion, as well as the glycogenic function of the liver. Bernard also extensively worked on the regulation of the blood supply by the vasomotor nerves.
Bernard advocated that medical knowledge, similar to other genres of scientific knowledge, has room for systematic experiments. He formulated the principle of scientific determinism, which states that identical experiments should produce identical results. His another book, “Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine” (1865) virtually brought about the use of animal testing.
Later Life and Death:
Claude Bernard was appointed a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1868. He died in Paris on February 10, 1878. Bernard was the first person in France to be given a public funeral. He was 64 years old.