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The anatomical theatre of Fabricius in Padua, Italy, 1594.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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Diorama of the interior showing a disection in progres. Hieronymus Fabricius ab Aquapendente (1537-1619), Girolamo Fabrici in Italian, was Profesor of Anatomy and Surgery at the University of Padua between 1562 and 1609, and was both a remarkable anatomist of his time and a pioneer of modern embryology. Fabricius studied foetal development, the function of the larynx as a vocal organ and the changing size of the pupil in the eye. Fabricius is credited with discovering the existence of valves in veins, which was crucial in enabling his pupil William Harvey (1578-1657) to discover the circulation of blood. In appreciation of his work the Senate of Venice built an anatomical theatre bearing his name.
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