New library exhibition focuses on Thomas Willis, the founder of neurology

Date 13 January 2021

The Library is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Dr Thomas Willis, the founder of neurology, who was born on 27 January 1621.

Thomas Willis is relatively unknown today, but his medical legacy in neurology and other medical areas extends to this day. His impressive accomplishments and central standing in the emergence of modern science at Oxford makes highlighting his life, work and collaborations long overdue.

Our library holds first editions and other early editions of all of Thomas Willis’s works except for one posthumous publication. The College also holds several of Willis’s letters, focusing on his work as a physician. The online exhibition introduces Thomas Willis’s work and life as illustrated by these holdings, looking not only at the books and letters, but also presenting his collaborations and legacy.

The exhibition is part of wider celebrations of Thomas Willis at Oxford University, initiated by Zoltán Molnár, Professor of Developmental Neurobiology at Oxford University and Tutorial Fellow at St John’s College, Oxford.

Throughout Hilary Term 2021 a series of interviews will discuss various aspects of Thomas Willis’s life, work and times. A list of these, with links updated every Monday, can be found at the start of the online exhibition. For a preview of what is to come, have a look at our trailer

 The online exhibition can be accessed here.

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