Reference numberMS/103
Previous numbersMS 103, MS 104
TitleMalpighi Collection
CreatorMalpighi, Marcello (1628-1694) Anatomist
DescriptionLetters, papers and original botanical drawings including the manuscript of Malpighi's works published by the Royal Society 'Anatome Planatarum' (part one published 1675 and part two published 1679)
ExtentTwo volumes, MS Large
ArrangementVolume One of papers in date order; Volume Two of four manuscripts sent for publishing to Royal Society in date order
Finding aidsList of contents at front of each volume. Letters catalogued in Archive card catalogue
Access statusOpen
Administrative historyBorn in Crevalcore, Bologna, of Marcantonio Malpighi and Maria Cremonini. Entered University of Bologna in 1646, where his tutor, the peripatetic philosopher Francesco Natali suggested he study medicine. Graduated as doctor of philosophy and medicine in 1653, from 1656 accepted chair of theoretical medicine at Pisa, where his stay was fundamental to the formation of his science. Influenced by Giovanni Alfonso Borelli, then Professor of Mathematics at Pisa; through him entered the orbit of the school of Galileo. In 1659 he returned to Bologna, where with Carlo Fracassati continued to conduct dissections and vivisections, in the course of which he used the microscope to make fundamental discoveries about the lungs. These he communicated to Borelli. His observations not only identified a structure for the pulmonary parenchyma, but also confirmed the theory of the circulation of the blood and ensured their acceptance. In 1662 he returned to Messina where he held the chair of medicine, and enthusiatically continued his researches on fundamental structures, publishing his findings in treatises relating to neurology, adenology, and haematology. He established capillary circulation and a mechanism to explain hematosis; he defined and systematized a nervous mechanism which included a highly accute sensory receptors; and performed an analysis of the blood, discovering the red corpuscles. He studied aberrations to cast light on normal organisms, and studied simple animals to understand more complex ones. He applied his methodological formulation in his work on the silkworm in 1669, and in the later embryological and botanical works edited by the Royal Society. In 1666 he went back to Bologna, and in 1667 he agreed to undertake scientific correspondence with the Royal Society of London, and the Society subsequently supervised the printing of all his later works. His study of plants, the 'Anatome Planatarum' appeared in London in two parts, in 1675 and 1679, and with Nehemiah Grew earned him acclaim as the founder of the microscopic study of plant anatomy. He was Chief Physician to Pope Innocent XII 1691-1694. In his work on medical anatomy he shaped the work of at least two generations, Albertini and Valsalva being his pupils, and their pupil Mortgagni continuing Malpighi's work. He also made considerable contributions to vegetable pathology, as in plant galls, and wrote an important methodological work supporting rational medicine against the empiricists.
Fellows associated with this archive
NA8222Malpighi; Marcello (1628 - 1694); biologist and physician1628 - 1694
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