CodeDS/UK/14
Person NameBoerhaave; Herman (1668-1738); Professor; physician; botanist
Dates1668-1738
TitleProfessor
Epithetphysician; botanist
HistoryBoerhaave was born at Voorhout near Leiden in 1668. Entering the University of Leiden he took his degree in philosophy in 1689, with a dissertation De distinctione mentis a corpore (on the difference of the mind from the body), in which he attacked the doctrines of Epicurus, Thomas Hobbes and Spinoza. He then turned to the study of medicine, in which he graduated in 1693 at Harderwijk in present-day Gelderland. In 1701 he was appointed lecturer on the institutes of medicine at Leiden.

In 1709 he became professor of botany and medicine, making improvements to the botanic garden of Leiden, and publishing numerous works descriptive of new species of plants. In 1714, when he was appointed rector of the university, he succeeded Govert Bidloo in the chair of practical medicine, and in this capacity he introduced the modern system of clinical instruction. Four years later he was also appointed to the chair of chemistry. In 1728 he was elected into the French Academy of Sciences, and two years later into the Royal Society of London. In 1729 declining health obliged him to resign the chairs of chemistry and botany; and he died, after a lingering and painful illness, at Leiden.

His reputation so increased the fame of the University of Leiden, especially as a school of medicine, that it became popular with visitors from every part of Europe. All the princes of Europe sent him pupils, who found in this skillful professor not only an indefatigable teacher, but an affectionate guardian.

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