100 Greatest Discoveries - Medicine

When I think of what we know today and what our ancestors knew just a few hundred years ago, I can't help but be utterly impressed by the ingenuity, the sophistication and the speed with which generations of curious minds have successfully probed the mysteries of the natural world, and no other discipline reveals this success more clearly and tangibly than medicine.

Armed with ever-refined versions of the hyppocratic method of observation and trial and error, scientists have come to understand not only the anatomy and the physiological systems of the human body but multiple sources of disease and infirmity, as well as methods for improving patient care and even prevent disease.

In today's documentary, you'll learn about Andreas Vesalius' masterpiece, De Humani Corporis Fabrica, William Harvey's celebrated discovery of the circulatory system, blood groups, anesthesia, X-rays, Pasteur's germ theory of disease, vitamins, Alexander Flemming's discovery of penicilin, sulfa drugs, inoculation (and the human guinea pig on which the idea was originally tested), insulin, oncogenes and retro-viruses like HIV.

More importantly than the individual discoveries, I think, is the empirical nature of scientific inquiry, as well as the unforseen connections and contributions that different scientific disciplines can make to one another. Medicine as we know it today would not be possible without the aid of subjects that may superficially appear completely unrelated to it. Maybe one discovery you make one day might save millions of lives?

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