2 June, 2020, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Laennec’s Stethoscope …or is it?

Adrian Wilson and Caroline Avery


All Welcome

The stethoscope has long been an essential tool for doctors, allowing them to “see” inside living patients and diagnose illnesses. Invented around 200 years ago by the French physician René Laennec, it quickly grew in popularity and became emblematic of the modern approach to medicine in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Leeds Museum has an early stethoscope that matches Laennec’s design, but is it one of Laennec’s originals? In attempting to answer this question, this lecture shows that, whether or not the Leeds stethoscope was from Laennec himself, this unassuming tube of wood provides an invaluable insight into the history of western medicine, in particular the great shift from diseases being defined by their outward symptoms to being defined by their inner causes.

Click here to watch Adrian Wilson and Caroline Avery’s lecture

Then, if that fires your imagination and curiousity, why not join the online discussion group at 4pm on Tue 2nd June. For details of how to access the discussion group, please click here.

This lecture is the 12th in a series of 20 as part of a free online course offering an introduction to the History of Science by the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds.