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Stephen Hales

Stephen Hales (1677–1761)
Born 17 September 1677
Bekesbourne, Kent
Died 4 January 1761
Teddington
Nationality English
Fields Plant physiology
Chemistry

Stephen Hales, FRS (17 September 1677 – 4 January 1761) was an English physiologist, chemist and inventor. Hales studied the role of air and water in the maintenance of both plant and animal life. He gave accurate accounts of the movements of water in plants, and demonstrated that plants absorb air. Hales discovered the dangers of breathing stale air, and invented a ventilator which improved survival rates when employed on ships, in hospitals and in prisons. Hales is also credited with important work in pneumatic chemistry, especially the development of the pneumatic trough, used for collecting gases generated in laboratory experiments.

Contents

Life and work

Stephen Hales was born at Bekesbourne in Kent. In June 1696 he was entered as a pensioner of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, with the view of taking holy orders, and in February 1703 was admitted to a fellowship.[1] In 1708 Hales was presented to the perpetual curacy of Teddington in Middlesex, where he remained all his life, notwithstanding that he was subsequently appointed rector of Porlock in Somerset, and later of Faringdon in Hampshire.

In 1717 Hales was elected fellow of the Royal Society, which awarded him the Copley Medal in 1739. In 1732 he was named one of a committee for establishing a colony in Georgia, and the next year he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Oxford. He was appointed almoner to the princess dowager of Wales in 1750. On the death of Sir Hans Sloane in 1753, Hales was chosen foreign associate of the French Academy of Sciences.

Known as a pioneer of experimental physiology, Hales showed that some reflexes are mediated by the spinal cord. Hales studied stones taken from the bladder and kidneys and suggested solvents which might reduce them without surgery. He also invented the surgical forceps.

Hales is best known for his Statical Essays. The first volume, Vegetable Staticks (1727), contains an account of numerous experiments in plant physiology — the loss of water in plants by evaporation, the rate of growth of shoots and leaves, and variations in root force at different times of the day. The second volume (1733) on Haemastaticks, containing experiments on the "force of the blood" in various animals, its rate of flow, and the capacity of the different vessels.

Stephen Hales died on 4 January 1761 in Teddington at the age of 84. He was buried under the tower of the church where he had worked many years.

Testimony

From the Nobel Prize in Medicine acceptance speech given by Werner Forssmann in 1956:

"The credit for carrying out the first catheterization of the heart of a living animal for a definite experimental purpose is due to an English parson, the Reverend Stephen Hales. This scientifically interested layman undertook in Tordington (sic) in 1710, 53 years after the death of William Harvey (1578–1657), the first precise definition of the capacity of a heart. He bled a sheep to death and then led a gun-barrel from the neck vessels into the still-beating heart. Through this, he filled the hollow chambers with molten wax and then measured from the resultant cast the volume of the heartbeat and the minute-volume of the heart, which he calculated from the pulse-beat. Besides this, Stephen Hales was also the first, in 1727, to determine arterial blood pressure, when he measured the rise in a column of blood in a glass tube bound into an artery."

The genus of trees Halesia is named after him.

See also

Notes

For a calendar of manuscript correspondence and writing of Stephen Hales see: D.G.C. Allan and R.E. Schofield, Stephen Hales. Scientist and philanthropist (London: Scolar Press, 1980), p.178, and for his published writing see ibid p.191

For Hales’s work as parish priest of Teddington see: David G.C. Allan, Science, Philanthropy and Religion in 18th century Teddington: Stephen Hales DD, FRS, (1677-1761) (Twickenham: Borough of Twickenham Local History Society, 2004). This work contains reconstructions of the enlargement of St Mary’s Church, Hale’s copyhold parsonage house and a map of his drainage scheme (Map by Ken Howe).

For a general assessment see: David G.C. Allan, Hales, Stephen (1677-1761) in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

For the 2009 celebration of his life and work see The William Shipley Group for RSA History Newsletter no. 22 (Nov 2009)

For Hales’s association with the Society of Arts see David G.C. Allan, ‘Founder of the Society of Arts’ group article in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online supplement, 2008)

References

  • Andreae, L.; Fine, L. G. (1997). "Unravelling dropsy: from Marcello Malpighi's discovery of the capillaries (1661) to Stephen Hales' production of oedema in an experimental model (1733)". Am. J. Nephrol. 17 (3-4): 359–68. doi:10.1159/000049605. PMID 9189256.  
  • Bloch, H (August 1978). "Rev. Stephen Hales, D.D., F.R.S. (1677-1761)". The Journal of the Medical Society of New Jersey 75 (9): 625–7. PMID 355637.  
  • Boss, J M (March 1978). "A collection of some observations on bills of mortality & parish registers: an unpublished manuscript by Stephen Hales, F.R.S. (1677-1761)". Notes and records of the Royal Society of London 32 (2): 131–47. doi:10.1098/rsnr.1978.0012. PMID 11610330.  
  • Clark-Kennedy, A. E.. "Stephen Hales, DD, FRS". British medical journal 2 (6103): 1656–8. PMID 338121.  
  • Cohen, I. B. (May 1976). "Stephen Hales". Sci. Am. 234 (5): 98–107. PMID 775633.  
  • Felts, J. H. (October 1977). "Stephen Hales and the measurement of blood pressure". North Carolina medical journal 38 (10): 602–3. PMID 335256.  
  • Geist, D. C. (May 1972). "An English clergyman and environmental health (Stephen Hales)". Arch. Environ. Health 24 (5): 373–7. PMID 4553667.  
  • Hall, W. D. (August 1987). "Stephen Hales: theologian, botanist, physiologist, discoverer of hemodynamics". Clinical cardiology 10 (8): 487–9. doi:10.1002/clc.4960100816. PMID 3304746.  
  • Heberden, E. (April 1985). "Correspondence of William Heberden, F.R.S. with the Reverend Stephen Hales and Sir Charles Blagden". Notes and records of the Royal Society of London 39 (2): 179–89. doi:10.1098/rsnr.1985.0008. PMID 11611813.  
  • Hoff, H. E.; Geddes, L. A.;; McCrady, J. D. (November 1965). "The contributions of the horse to knowledge of the heart and circulation. 1. Stephen Hales and the measurement of blood pressure". Connecticut medicine 29 (11): 795–800. PMID 5320322.  
  • James, P. J. (1985). "Stephen Hales' "statical way"". History and philosophy of the life sciences 7 (2): 287–99. PMID 3909194.  
  • Jarcho, S. (March 1983). "Some excerpts from the writings of Stephen Hales, with comment on their relation to the concept of heart failure". Transactions & studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia 5 (1): 19–28. PMID 6340260.  
  • Lewis, O. (December 1994). "Stephen Hales and the measurement of blood pressure". Journal of human hypertension 8 (12): 865–71. PMID 7884783.  
  • Mann, R. J. (March 1978). "The statical way of inquiry of the Reverend Stephen Hales, 1677-1761". Mayo Clin. Proc. 53 (3): 191–4. PMID 342838.  
  • Smith, I. B. (June 1993). "The impact of Stephen Hales on medicine". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 86 (6): 349–52. PMID 8315630.  
  • West, J. B. (September 1984). "Stephen Hales: neglected respiratory physiologist". Journal of applied physiology: respiratory, environmental and exercise physiology 57 (3): 635–9. PMID 6386767.  

Further reading

From Vegetable Staticks, opposite page 262
  • Hales, Stephen (1727) Vegetable Staticks, London: W. and J. Innys — from the Missouri Botanical Garden's library
  • Hales, Stephen (1738). "Philosophical experiments: containing useful, and necessary instructions for such as undertake long voyages at sea. Shewing how sea-water may be made fresh and wholsome: and how fresh water may be preserv'd sweet. How biscuit, corn, &c. may be secured from the weevel, meggots, and other insects. And flesh preserv'd in hot climates, by salting animals whole. To which is added, an account of several experiments and observations on chalybeate or steel-waters ... which were read before the Royal-society, at several of their meetings", London: W. Innys and R. Manby
  • Biographical information (Dictionary of National Biography, 1890, pages 32–36)
  • Parascandola, John and Ihde, Aaron J. (1969). "History of the Pneumatic Trough", Isis, vol. 60, no. 3, pages 351–361
  • Stephen Hales at the Galileo Project — details on Hales's life and work

Wikisource-logo.svg "Hales, Stephen". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.  

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
James Valoue
Copley Medal
1739
Succeeded by
Alexander Stuart
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

STEPHEN HALES (1677-1761), English physiologist, chemist and inventor, was born at Bekesbourne in Kent on the 7th or 17th of September 1677, the fifth (or sixth) son of Thomas Hales, whose father, Sir Robert Hales, was created a baronet by Charles II. in 1670. In June 1696 he was entered as a pensioner of Benet (now Corpus Christi) College, Cambridge, with the view of taking holy orders, and in February 1703 was admitted to a fellowship. He received the degree of master of arts in 1703 and of bachelor of divinity in 1711. One of his most intimate friends was William Stukeley (1687-1765) with whom he studied anatomy, chemistry, &c. In1708-1709Hales was presented to the perpetual curacy of Teddington in Middlesex, where he remained all his life, notwithstanding that he was subsequently appointed rector of Porlock in Somerset, and later of Faringdon in Hampshire. In 1717 he was elected fellow of the Royal Society, which awarded him the Copley medal in 1739. In 1732 he was named one of a committee for establishing a colony in Georgia, and the next year he received the degree of doctor of divinity from Oxford. He was appointed almoner to the princessdowager of Wales in 1750. On the death of Sir Hans Sloane in 1 753, Hales was chosen foreign associate of the French Academy of Sciences. He died at Teddington on the 4th of January 1761. Hales is best known for his Statical Essays. The first volume, Vegetable Staticks (1727), contains an account of numerous experiments in plant-physiology - the loss of water in plants by evaporation, the rate of growth of shoots and leaves, variations in root-force at different times of the day, &c. Considering it very probable that plants draw "through their leaves some part of their nourishment from the air," he undertook experiments to show in "how great a proportion air is wrought into the composition of animal, vegetable and mineral substances"; though this "analysis of the air" did not lead him to any very clear ideas about the composition of the atmosphere, in the course of his inquiries he collected gases over water in vessels separate from those in which they were generated, and thus used what was to all intents and purposes a "pneumatic trough." The second volume (1733) on Haemostaticks, containing experiments on the "force of the blood" in various animals, its rate of flow, the capacity of the different vessels, &c., entitles him to be regarded as one of the originators of experimental physiology. But he did not confine his attention to abstract inquiries. The quest of a solvent for calculus in the bladder and kidneys was pursued by him as by others at the period, and he devised a form of forceps which, on the testimony of John Ranby (1703-1773), sergeant-surgeon to George II., extracted stones with "great ease and readiness." His observations of the evil effect of vitiated air caused him to devise a "ventilator" (a modified organbellows) by which fresh air could be conveyed into gaols, hospitals, ships'-holds, &c.; this apparatus was successful in reducing the mortality in the Savoy prison, and it was introduced into France by the aid of H. L. Duhamel du Monceau. Among other things Hales invented a "sea-gauge" for sounding, and processes for distilling fresh from sea water, for preserving corn from weevils by fumigation with brimstone, and for salting animals whole by passing brine into their arteries. His Admoni- 'ion to the Drinkers of Gin, Brandy, &c., published anonymously in 1734, has been several times reprinted.


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