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(He is also the first to use the word 'computer' - referring to people who compute calendars.) Browne, Sir Thomas. London The work of Rene Descartes, French Philosopher, is published (after his death) and explains human movement in terms of the complex mechanical interaction of threads, pores, passages and 'animal spirits'.Pseudodoxia Epidemica: Or, enquiries Into Very Many Received Tenents, and Commonly Presumed Truths. He had worked on his ideas in the 1630s but had abandoned publication because of the persecution of other radical thinkers such as Galileo.Edward Bancroft, an American Scientist, suggests that the 'shock' from the Torpedo Fish is electrical rather than mechanical in nature.He showed that the properties of the shock were similar to those from a Leyden jar in that it could be conducted or insulated with appropriate materials.Since living tissues were known to be conductors it was impossible to imagine how an imbalance of charge could exist within an animal and therefore animals could not use electricity for nerve conduction - or to deliver shocks. The eel was out of water as it was not possible to produce the spark otherwise. The Society had developed from 'The Institution for Affording immediate relief to persons apparently dead from drowning'.
Swammerdam refines his experiments on muscle contraction and nerve conduction and demonstrated some to notable figures such as the Grand-Duke Cosimo of Tuscany who was visiting Swammerdam's father's house on the Oude Schans in Amsterdam.On removing the brain all movement stopped (which would be in keeping with Descarte's theory) but then, when the frog was dissected and a severed nerve end stimulated with a scalpel the muscles twitched.This proved that movement of a muscle could occur without any connection to the brain and therefore the transmission of 'animal spirits' was not necessary.William Harvey had developed similar ideas but they were never published. De Homine (Treatise of Man); 1662: Moyardum & leffen, Leiden.Jan Swammerdam, a Dutchman, disproves Descartes' mechanistic theory of animal motion by removing the heart of a living frog and showing that it was still able to swim.
Swammerdam's ideas were not widely known and his work was not published until after his death.