- 1. Dates
- Born: Leiden, 1611
- Died: Amsterdam, Nov. 1678
- Dateinfo: Dates Certain
- Lifespan: 67
- 2. Father
- Occupation: Musician
- Hermannus Piso van Cleef, organist in a church in Leiden.
- No indication of his financial status.
- 3. Nationality
- Birth: Dutch
- Career: Dutch (including the Dutch colony in Brasil)
- Death: Dutch
- 4. Education
- Schooling: Leiden; Caen, M.D.
- Matriculated at Leiden in 1623 at the age of twelve. I assume a B.A. or its equivalent.
- M.D. at Caen in 1633.
- 5. Religion
- Affiliation: Calvinist assumed.
- 6. Scientific Disciplines
- Primary: Medicine, Pharmacology, Natural History
- From his period in Brasil came the Historia naturalis Brasiliae (of which four of twelve books were by Piso and eight by Markgraf), a compendium of tropical medicine, pharmacology (including the introduction of a Brasilian root into European use), and natural history.
- 7. Means of Support
- Primary: Medicine, Patronage
- After his degree in 1633, he established a practice in Amsterdam, until 1637.
- In 1637 sent by the Dutch West Indian Company to be the physician to Johan Maurits of Nassau, the governor of the colony in Brasil, and physician to the colony. Johan Maurits had gone out the year before to establish an organized government in what had been merely a military post; the original physician had died almost as soon as he arrived in Brasil. In some sense that is not clear, Piso remained in the service of Johan Maurits for a short time after they returned to the Netherlands in 1644.
- By 1648 Piso had settled in Amsterdam, and there he maintained a practice.
- 8. Patronage
- Type: Aristrocrat
- Johan Maurits, beyond the relation indicated above, sponsored and financed the Historia naturalis brasiliae.
- 9. Technological Involvement
- Types: Medical Practice, Pharmacology
- 10. Scientific Societies
- Membership: Medical College
- Amsterdam Collegium Medicum, of which Piso was decanus in 1656-60 and 1670.
- Nieuw Nederlandsch Biographisch Woordenboek.
- G.A. Lindeboom, Dutch Medical Biography, (Amsterdam, 1984), p. 1535.
- M.A. van Andel, introduction to "Capita nonnula de ventris fluxibus, de dysentaria, de lue indica, de ipecacuanha," in Opuscula selecta neerlandicorum de arte medica, XIV, (Amsterdam 1937), xii-xxxviii. This introduction, which has an English translation on facing pages, is said to be the best study of Piso.
- Not Available and Not Consulted
- M.A. van Andel, "Willem Piso, een baanbreker de tropischegenees- kunde," Bijdragen tot de geshiedenis der geneeskunde, 14 (1924), 239-54.
- 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.