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Borel, Pierre

1. Dates
Born: Castres (Languedoc), ca 1620
Died: Paris, 1671
Dateinfo: Birth Uncertain
Lifespan: 51
2. Father
Occupation: No Information
No information on financial status.
3. Nationality
Birth: Castres, Languedoc, France
Career: France
Death: Paris, France
4. Education
Schooling: Montpelier; M.D.
Borel studied medicine at Montpellier and obtained M.D. in 1641. I assume a B.A. or its equivalent.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Calvinist
He was evidently the regent of the Huguenot college of Castres. His death was entered in a Huguenot register.
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Medicine, Botany, Chemistry
Borel is credited with the first description of brain concussions. Among his original contributions to medicine are the statement that cataract is a darkening of the crystalline lens and the recommendation of the use of concave mirrors in diagnostic examination of nose and throat.
He also wrote books on history of science.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Patronage
Borel practiced medicine at Castres beginning in 1641. About the end of 1653 he moved to Paris, where he received the title of medecin ordinaire du roy.
8. Patronage
Type: Court
See above.
9. Technological Involvement
Types: Medical Practice, Pharmacology, Instruments
His Horyus (1667) listed plants with known uses in medicine.
He pioneered the use of concave mirrors in the examination of noses, throats, etc.
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: None
Both Hirsch and Niceron appear to confuse Borel with Jacques Borelly (alias Borel) who became a member of the Académie in 1674. They attribute chemical research to Borel that belonged to Borelly, and they give 1689 (the year of Borelly's death) as the year of Borel's death.
  1. R.P.Niceron, Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire des hommes illustres dans la republique des lettres avec un catalogue resumé de leurs ouvrages, 36, (Paris, 1736), 218-224.
  2. August Hirsch, ed., Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Arzte, 2nd. ed., 1, (Berlin, 1929), 632. Note what is said above (under Scientific Societies) about both Niceron and Hirsch, both of whom confused two men, Borel and Borelly.
  3. Mme. Puech-Milhau, an article in Revue du Tarn, 4th ser., 7 (1936), 279-80.
Compiled by:
Richard S. Westfall
Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Indiana University

Note: the creators of the Galileo Project and this catalogue cannot answer email on geneological questions.

©1995 Al Van Helden
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