Ten fun facts about Thomas Willis

Ten fun facts about Thomas Willis

1. Pioneering figure in the scientific revolution

Thomas Willis was a pioneering figure in the scientific revolution of the 17th century, and was one of the founding members of the Royal Society, the world's oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. He was a key figure in the development of modern neuroscience, and his work on the anatomy of the brain and nervous system laid the foundations for the modern understanding of the human body. His contributions to the Royal Society included the publication of several books on anatomy and physiology, and his work was instrumental in the advancement of medical science.

AlsoBruce Willis: National Spokesman for Children in Foster Care


2. Father of Four Who Died Young

Thomas Willis had a total of nine children in his first marriage, however, only four of them survived. He did not have any children in his second marriage.

AlsoThomas Hunt Morgan: A Biography

3. Oxford Graduate and Master of Arts

Thomas Willis graduated from the prestigious Christ Church in Oxford with a Master of Arts degree. This renowned college is one of the oldest and most respected universities in the world, and has produced some of the most influential figures in history. Willis' accomplishment is a testament to his dedication and hard work, and is a testament to the quality of education he received at Christ Church.

AlsoChicago's Willis Tower: The World's Tallest Building

4. Thomas Willis & John Fell: A Close Bond

Thomas Willis, the renowned English physician, had a close relationship with his first wife's brother, John Fell. This relationship was so strong that John Fell eventually wrote a biography about Thomas Willis, documenting his life and accomplishments. This biography was published in 1684, and is still considered to be one of the most comprehensive accounts of Thomas Willis' life and work.

AlsoSomething the Lord Made: The Story of Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas


5. The Man Who Made Mathematics Modern

In 1660, Thomas Willis was appointed to the prestigious role of chair of the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford, a position he held until his death. During his tenure, Willis made significant contributions to the field of mathematics, including the development of a new method of calculating the area of a circle and the discovery of a new type of number. His work was highly influential in the development of modern mathematics and his legacy continues to be felt today.

AlsoThe Thomas Kuhn Paradigm Shift Award

6. Doctor Fails to Cure Patient

Despite having a successful medical practice, Thomas Willis was unable to relieve the ailments of one of his patients. However, this did not stop him from having an affair with her. Despite his best efforts to help her medically, he was unable to do so, and instead chose to pursue a romantic relationship with her.

Also"Nobel Laureates: Sherrington & Adrian"

7. First to Number Cranial Nerves

Thomas Willis was a pioneering English physician and anatomist who made a significant contribution to the field of neuroscience. He was the first to number the cranial nerves in the order they are still numbered today. This numbering system has become the standard for medical professionals and students of neuroscience, and is a testament to Willis' lasting legacy in the field.

AlsoWilliam Smith: Father of English Geology


8. 4 men credited with founding neurology

Thomas Willis, the pioneering neurologist, is credited with coining the term 'neurology' in his seminal work 'Cerebri Anatome'. However, Willis was quick to acknowledge the contributions of Christopher Wren, Thomas Millington and Richard Lower, who all played a part in the development of the field. Wren, an English scientist and architect, was a key figure in the Royal Society, while Millington and Lower were both prominent physicians of the time. Together, these four men laid the foundations for the modern science of neurology.

AlsoAlbrecht von Haller: Pioneering Physiologist and Scientist

9. Founder of Neurology, Father of Neuroscience

Thomas Willis is widely regarded as the founder of neurology and the father of neuroscience. His pioneering work in the 17th century laid the foundations for the modern understanding of the nervous system, and his book, 'Cerebri Anatome', is considered one of the most important works in the history of neuroscience. His discoveries revolutionized the field, and his legacy continues to shape the way we think about the brain and its functions.

10. Loyal servant to King Charles I rewarded with medical degree

Thomas Willis was a loyal servant to King Charles I during the Civil War, and his dedication was rewarded with a medical degree despite having only completed seven of the fourteen years of study required. His unwavering loyalty to the King was so impressive that the King granted him the degree, allowing him to become a prominent figure in the medical field. Willis went on to become a renowned physician, neurologist, and anatomist, and his work in the field of neuroscience is still studied today.

More facts on


More interesting reads about...


Short about Thomas Willis
An English doctor.