CFP. Humours, mixtures, & corpuscles. A Medical Path to Corpuscularism in the Seventeenth Century

International Conference

Domus Comeliana, Pisa, 18-20 May 2017

Fabrizio Bigotti & Jonathan Barry

The Centre for Medical History of the University of Exeter (United Kingdom) and the Fondazione Comel – Institutio Santoriana (Italy) are pleased to announce an International Conference Humours, mixtures and corpuscles. a medical path to corpuscularism in the seventeenth century, organised by Dr Fabrizio Bigotti and Prof. Jonathan Barry, to be held at the Domus Comeliana of Pisa on 18-20 May 2017.

The conference aims at exploring the interplay between minima naturalia, corpuscles, and atoms in the medical thought of the seventeenth century (broadly considered, 1550-1720) by especially focusing on the legacy of the Italian physician Santorio Santori (1561-1636). Santorio, who is credited to be the first to introduce a quantitative approach into medicine and biology by means of his studies on the insensible perspiration of the body (perspiratio insensibilis), was also the first to conceive the action of corpuscles and atoms mechanically as a result of his experiments on the properties of drugs and mixtures. As the impetus towards the quantification of compound substances which led European physicians to embrace corpuscular theories remains largely unknown to scholars, this conference will shed light not only on the context and influence of Santorio’s legacy, but also on the many directions taken by medical experimentation in the seventeenth century.

Keynote Speakers:

Georgiana Hedesan (University of Oxford)

Christoph Lüthy (Radbound University)

William R. Newman (Indiana University)

Vivian Nutton (University College of London)

Papers from scholars of any nationality are invited on any aspect of early modern medicine and science. Contributions on general aspects (e.g. Renaissance Aristotelianism and Galenism, Medical School of Padua, alchemical medicine, properties of mixtures, preparation of drugs, etc.) as well as on single authors (Baglivi, Basson, Boyle, Descartes, Falloppia, Fracastoro, Glisson, Iungius, Santorio, Sennert, Spinoza, etc.) are equally welcome. In the spirit of the conference, however, particular attention will be devoted to papers referring to Santorio and the history of perspiratio insensibilis (from Dodart to Keill).

PhD students are strongly encouraged to join the event which will be supported by 5 Santorio Fellowships for Medical Humanities and Science (500 euros each) funded by the Fondazione Comel – Institutio Santoriana, whose application process will be advertised separately in December 2017.

Papers should be a maximum of 20-25 minutes followed by 10 minutes of reply. Abstracts of a max. 300 words should be sent to Dr Fabrizio Bigotti at by the 22 February 2017.

A publication of the conference proceedings is anticipated from Springer in 2018.


Supported by SSHM.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s