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Dodart, Denis

1. Dates
Born: Paris, 1634
Died: Paris, 5 Nov. 1707
Dateinfo: Dates Certain
Lifespan: 73
2. Father
Occupation: Unknown
Jean Dodart is described as a "bourgeois de Paris" (according to Hazon "honnete bourgeois de Paris"). In another account he was upper middle class. Dodart's mother was the daughter of a lawyer. Frankly I do not know what this may mean; he could have been a merchant, a lawyer, or a government official.
However, that phrase "upper middle class" certainly implies affluence.
3. Nationality
Birth: French
Career: French
Death: French
4. Education
Schooling: Paris, M.D.
He received a particularly broad and thorough education. After studing medicine he graduated "docteur regent" from the Faculty of Medicine in Paris in 1660. I assume a B.A. or its equivalent.
5. Religion
Affiliation: Catholic (assumed)
6. Scientific Disciplines
Primary: Botany, Medicine, Physiology
His main work was the Mémoires pour servir a l'histoire des plantes, a preliminary study and an announcement of a large collective work that never appeared. Recommending a phythochemical analysis, this work marked a new step in botany.
He also published a good description of ergotism (1676) and several anatomical, pathological, and embryological observations. He was the first since Aristotle and Galen to present new ideas on the mechanism of phonation. His three memoirs on phonation appeared between 1700 and 1707.
7. Means of Support
Primary: Medicine, Patronage, Government
Secondary: Academia
In 1666 Dodart became a professor at the School of Pharmacy in Paris.
He was first in the service of the Duchess of Longueville as her physician and then was physician to the house of Conti. Later he became doctor at Port-Royal.
He became a member of the Academy of Sciences in 1673, and was renominated with the reorganization in 1699 with a pension of 1000 écus.
He had the title of physician adviser to the king in 1698 and was the doctor to the entire court, and he was physician at St. Cyr.
8. Patronage
Types: Court Official, Aristrocrat
His principal patroness was the Princess of Conti, the daughter of Louis XIV. Despite the fact that Louis did not like Dodart because of his connection with Port Royal, the Princess named him physician to the house at St. Cyr.
Dodart's appointment to the Académie came through Mme. Perrault who had connections to Colbert. Louis XIV yielded to Colbert's appeal that he make Dodart a member of the Academy and to that of Mme. de Maintenon that he give Dodart a place at the court (1698). Dodart was named a counsellor of the king.
He was physician to the Duchess of Longueville and then to the house of Conti, and later became doctor at Port-Royal.
9. Technological Involvement
Type: Medical Practice
10. Scientific Societies
Memberships: Académie Royal des Sciences, 1673-1707
He became a member of the Academy in 1673, and when it was reorganized he was among the first group of titulaires named directly by Louis XIV.
  1. B. de Fontenelle, "Eloge de M. Dodart", Histoire de l'Académie royale des sciences pour l'année 1707, (Paris, 1708), pp. 226-39.
  2. Romand d'Amat, "Dodart", Dictionnaire de biographie francaise, 11, (Paris, 1967), cols. 417-418. CT1003 .D55 RF J.A. Hazon, ed., Notice des hommes les plus célèbres de la Faculté de Médecine en l'Université de Paris, (Paris 1778), pp. 135-8.
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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