Marie Jean Pierre Flourens - Encyclopedia

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MARIE JEAN PIERRE FLOURENS (1794-1867), French physiologist, was born at Maureilhan, near Beziers, in the department of Herault, on the 15th of April 1794. At the age of fifteen he began the study of medicine at Montpellier, where in 1823 he received the degree of doctor. In the following year he repaired to Paris, provided with an introduction from A. P. de Candolle, the botanist, to Baron Cuvier, who received him kindly, and interested himself in his welfare. At Paris Flourens engaged in physiological research, occasionally contributing to literary publications; and in 1821, at the Athenee there, he gave a course of lectures on the physiological theory of the sensations, which attracted much attention amongst men of science. His paper entitled Recherches experimentales sur les proprietes et les fonctions du systeme nerveux dans les animaux vertebres, in which he, from experimental evidence, sought to assign their special functions to the cerebrum, corpora quadrigemina and cerebellum, was the subject of a highly commendatory report by Cuvier, adopted by the French Academy of Sciences in 1822. He was chosen by Cuvier in 1828 to deliver for him a course of lectures on natural history at the College .de France, and in the same year became, in succession to L. A. G. Bosc, a member of the Institute, in the division "Economie rurale." In 1830 he became Cuvier's substitute as lecturer on human anatomy at the Jardin du Roi, and in 1832 was elected to the post of titular professor, which he vacated for the professorship of comparative anatomy created for him at the museum of the Jardin the same year. In 1833 Flourens, in accordance with the dying request of Cuvier, was appointed a perpetual secretary of the Academy of Sciences; and in 1838 he was returned as a deputy for the'arrondissement of Beziers. In 1840 he was elected, in preference to Victor Hugo, to succeed J. F. Michaud at the French Academy; and in 1845 he was created a commander of the legion of honour, and in the next year a peer of France. In March 1847 Flourens directed the attention of the Academy of Sciences to the anaesthetic effect of chloroform on animals. On the revolution of 1848 he withdrew completely from political life; and in 1855 he accepted the professorship of natural history at the College de France. He died at Montgeron, near Paris, on the 6th of December 1867.

Besides numerous shorter scientific memoirs, Flourens published- Essai sur quelques points de la doctrine de la revulsion et de la deri- nation (Montpellier, 1813); Experiences sur le systeme nerveux (Paris, 1825); Cours sur la generation, l'ovologie, et l'embryologie (1836); Analyse raisonnee des travaux de G. Cuvier (1841); Recherches sur le developpement des os et des dents (1842); Anatomic generale de la peau et des membranes muqueuses (1843); Buffon, histoire de ses travaux et de ses idees (1844); Fontenelle, ou de la philosophie moderne relativement aux sciences physiques (1847); Theorie experimentale de la formation des os (1847); Ouvres completes de Buffon (1853); De la longevite humaine et de la quantite de vie sur le globe (1854), numerous editions; Histoire de la decouverte de la circulation du sang (1854); Cours de physiologic comparee (1856); Recueil des eloges historiyues (1856); De la vie et de l'intelligence (1858); De la raison, du genie, et de la folie (1861); Ontologie naturelle (1861); Examen du livre de M. Darwin sur l'Origine des Especes (1864). For a list of his papers see the Royal Society's Catalogue of Scientific Papers.

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