The Age of Science

Sir Christopher Wren (1632 – 1723)

Most people know Sir Christopher Wren as the Architect of St Paul’s Cathedral and several other churches and buildings built as a result of the devastation caused by the great fire of London.


He is also known to medical science and science in general, his friends included among others Sir Isaac Newton. 

Wren was only fifteen when he began assisting a medical professor with his dissections. And he kept working in medicine until the Great Fire of London in 1666.

However in 1657, Christopher Wren injected opium into a dog’s vein, through a quill and thus became the inventor intra venous injection.

Sir Christopher Wren’s bizarre ideas were using ale, wine or opium as substitutes for blood.


In his inaugural lecture as a professor, Wren argued that we wouldn't learn to use medicines by studying Hippocrates' aphorisms. Rather, we should study the history of the diseases themselves. That too is something we take as axiomatic today.

This idea probably went down well with the drinking fraternity but for a scientist, there was not much science research done into the idea.

He was also a brilliant anatomical illustrator; he used his perspectograph an ingenious device that allows him to trace the lineaments of any object and was probably used to trace the topography of the brain, nerves and blood vessels.229

He produced drawings for Thomas Willis's 1664 book Cerebri Anatome (The Anatomy of the Brain).

This was a landmark publication in the history of neurology, not least because of Wren's detailed and accurate figures, which were among the very first modern images of brain anatomy.


However, then the Great Fire of London started and destroyed countless buildings and landmarks. Who would think that this small fire in a Bakers shop on pudding lane would lead to even the original London Bridge being destroyed.


Christopher Wren now in his 30's became the architect that he was born to be.


He went on to build not only the masterpiece that is St Pauls Cathedral but also and fifty one other London churches. He was given the licence to build most of the major government buildings in London.


He was laid to rest on16 March 1723, at one of his greatest creations, St Paul's Cathedral, London.


“A time will come when men will stretch out their eyes. They should see planets like our Earth.”230



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The History of Surgery and Anaesthesia was created as a free resource to educate Students or indeed anyone wishing to understand the beginings of surgery and Anaesthesia.

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