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The online catalogue summarises their contents and those of the Deposition Books up to The earliest and most important series of records of the court are the testamentary records.

Of particular interest to bibliographers are those inventories, numbering approximately , containing lists of books. Guidance is available on how to search for alumni in the University Archives. The most significant records series are as follows:. These were certificates signed by college praelectors testifying to qualifications, residence etc. Candidates for degrees were required to sign their acceptance of the royal supremacy and of the formularies of the Anglican Church, interrupted between , subscriptions to modified formula.

This is one of the largest and most popular groups of records within the University Archives, comprising the archives of over clubs and societies. The oldest archives are those of the Zodiac Club probably founded in for purposes its twelve members each taking a sign of the Zodiac as an alias were forbidden to reveal but which seem to have included conviviality and mutual self-advancement. The documents do not shed much further light on these activities, being of an administrative nature, but do confirm the importance of senior members in many of the earlier University societies.

There is then a jump in the collections to the early nineteenth century, with the Cricket and Boat Clubs, Garrick and Ray Clubs, for sportsmen, thespians and scientists respectively, and the University Musical Society.

The later nineteenth century offers a further and considerable variety of sports and recreational societies, from the new craze for bicycling to the long-established art of change ringing, and the documentation of University activities continues almost to the present, with the records of Cambridge University Amnesty International, starting in These archives provide important insights into the life of the University over the centuries. They also demonstrate how many societies went into decline on the departure of prominent members in this case, M.

To counter any impression of the exclusively sybaritic, inspection of the papers of the Cambridge University Social Services Organisation will reveal many of the voluntary and charitable activities undertaken by students in the s under the aegis of this co-ordinating body. The archives of the Footlights Dramatic Club comprise a diverse collection of material relating to productions and performances, such as scripts, photographs, posters and programmes, as well as news cuttings tracing celebrated members' careers after Cambridge and photocopies and notes of related records elsewhere.

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From , the Club began the unbroken tradition of presenting an original show for May Week, composed thereafter of any combination of burlesque, comedy sketches, satire, songs and instrumental music. Women first appeared in a production in and again in A wealth of correspondence, minute books, accounts and catalogues gives a unique, day-by-day insight into the growth of research as a professional occupation, and some of its less edifying byways.

Influenced by the craze for anthropometry started by statistician and eugenicist Francis Galton, in the society set up a laboratory to measure the heads of undergraduates and others, in a misguided attempt to relate cranial size to intelligence. Cards bearing the original data remain in the archives: they were initially analysed by John Venn of diagram fame and later, more stringently, by the statistician Ronald Fisher. And what of the society itself? It continues to hold fortnightly meetings, now partly devoted to public engagement rather than new research, and it provides grants to early-career scientists.

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Nature menu. Most museums exhibit only a small fraction of their holdings; the rest is in storage and may become lost. My aim in this article is to encourage the preservation of these historical documents. Historical research is interesting, illuminating and enlightening. To be able to conceptualize the perspectives of older neuroscientists gives us an ability to understand their discoveries more deeply and make sense of our own research, theories, and methodology.

In addition, historical research allows one to hear exciting stories and meet interesting people. If these are not appealing as reasons to study history, some may find consolation in the fact that doing historical research often involves travel to incredible places. Some examples from my own research illustrate how the search for historical documents can be interesting and exciting: academic detective work. Sets of exact replicas of these tools were for sale in the gift shop and I bought one to use for teaching Figure 2. These tools include hooks, knives, probes, needles, spatulas, spoons, and knife handles.

A scalpel handle carved in the shape of a mouse is also linked to Asklepios see Figure 2. This increases their interest in history. Surgical tools from the 3rd century AD. These tools are replicas of those on exhibit at the National Archelogical Museum of Greece and were purchased at the museum in Thessaloniki, Greece. On the far left is a copper-alloy spoon for preparing and taking medicines and applying them to wounds.

Next to it is a copper-alloy knife handle that is decorated with a small animal, possibly a mouse, which links the instrument with Asklepios. The mouse was seen as a daemonic being with prophetic powers and was associated with Apollo Smintheus, who protected people against evil and epidemics. The blade is missing. Because blades were made of iron, they often rusted away. The item at the top of the six items shown horizontally is a copper-alloy double hook which is decorated with silver bands at the head and in the middle. It was used during surgical operations on blood vessels aneurysms , on membranes in the eye, and on tonsils, and to clasp pieces of tissue and the edges of wounds during surgery.

The second horizontal item is a copper-alloy knife used to make incisions in the flesh during operations.

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The third item is a copper-alloy spoon-shaped probe that was used to prepare and apply medicines. The fourth is a copper-alloy needle used to sew bandages applied to wounds. The fifth is a copper-alloy spatula probe used to mix and apply medicines in deep surgical incisions, to diagnose and measure the depth of injuries, and more rarely to clean internal wounds to the nose and other, larger wounds. The bottom item is also a copper-alloy spatula probe. On the far right is a copper-alloy clasp with serrated ends.

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This was used to clasp or cut away flesh and tumors during surgical operations. Next to this is another copper-alloy spatula used to clean wounds and incisions, scrape away fistulae, and remove foreign bodies and broken bones from the ear and nose. In eye operations, it was used to remove cysts. It was also used to prepare and apply medicines, particularly to the eyes.

These tools are described by Bliquez When I left I ordered my own copies of the prints to use for teaching. On this tour, we visited the town of Vinci Figure 3 , the Leonardo museum and the house where Leonardo was born. In Florence, we visited other Leonardo da Vinci museums, libraries, and exhibits where we purchased books on Leonardo and prints of his drawings. In researching Leonardo da Vinci as a neuroscientist, a tour of Italy is interesting and exciting.


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It also contains slides presented to him by other leading contemporary neuroscientists. Much of the histological data behind these incredible discoveries are available for research at the University of Oxford. Donald O. During our visit, we not only presented lectures but also visited the laboratories used by Pavlov. These examples illustrate some of the excitement of the search for the history of neuroscience. It is interesting because you discover things that you would never have expected.


It is illuminating as it shows the ideas and methods used to make some of the basic discoveries in neuroscience. Finally, it is enlightening to view the lives of famous neuroscientists through their writings, letters and photographs and through the eyes of their students and families. In the search for the history of neuroscience, you have the opportunities to meet interesting people, hear fascinating stories and to travel to far away places. Finally, the study of the history of science helps you to make sense of your own research.

The history of neuroscience can be important for students and researchers who can use insights from the history of science to illuminate their work. By methodologically investigating historical data, models, hypotheses and experiments, alternatives to contemporary theories can be contemplated. Lessons from the history of neuroscience also reveal the cultural context and social responsibility of those investigating the brain. Popular ideas about the brain influence the direction that neuroscientists take in their research.

Especially in the past half-century, new discoveries in neuroscience have had a widespread popular appeal. Nerves and brain function have become a powerful analogy in spheres of thought far removed from neuroscience. In order to avoid repeating prejudices, neuroscientists can take a history of science approach to their discipline. Since all research relies on history, and each research project has its own history, neuroscientists rely on their historical records to demonstrate their research integrity.

Without history, whether in the form of actual physical objects, written documents, or personal reminiscences, neuroscientists have little context for their contemporary work. Historical approaches can be integrated into research and teaching in neuroscience and many neuroscientists will find interest and pleasure in the study of the history of neuroscience. The author declares that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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I would like to thank my students, Brianna Aird and Jessica Pelley for their assistance in the preparation of previous drafts of this article, and Aimee Wong for her help in editing the article. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Behav Neurosci v.

Early History of the University of Oxford

Front Behav Neurosci. Published online May Richard E.