Lot 235: Czech anatomist and physiologist (1787–1869) who was one of the most well-known scientists of his time. ALS in German, signed "Purkyne," one page both sides, 5.25 x 9.25, February 5, 1839. Letter to a colleague concerning his recent scientific discovery, in part (translated): "The pia mater of the spinal cord (first the bone) which is significant to the junction of the anterior strands firm and fibrous, containing its entire length a very fine, rich nervous system of the most tender elementary fibers into bundles and individually mostly longitudinally extending, otherwise often interlacing. Nowhere are the elementary fibers more naked than here. The origin of this network I have not averaged out, I suspect it is in the vicinity of the vagus. However, this system also addresses the pia about the brain though far more dispersed, but independently, or perhaps merging with the nervous arteries. The nerves of the pia of the spinal cord can be seen even with the naked eye or with weak magnification…I've also found independent nerve fibers everywhere in the dura and hope they are still found in all serous membrane fibers; from which then emerges that the nervous system spreads as guardians of the organism in all border areas, which would be quite natural." In fine condition, with uniform toning. Purkyne is credited with first recognizing the importance of structures in the brain in the workings of the nervous system, and posited that the ganglionic granules and fibers connecting the brain and spinal cord served as collectors, generators, and distributors of the neural organs. A fascinating letter regarding this extremely early and innovative work.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 462
Wednesday, 14th October 2015
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