Skeletons and Stars

A couple of days ago I visited the Warren Anatomical Museum. Gallery. I think it was once a museum…now it’s composed of a few glass cases on a floor of the Harvard Med School library. There are 15,000 items in the collection; unfortunately, only 300 of them are on display. Some of the artifacts are fascinating; some of them are downright creep-tastic. It was cool to see Phineas Gage‘s skull. And interesting to learn about the history of anesthesia. (John Collins Warren, who donated personal artifacts and started the museum, was the first person to use ether anesthesia in a public demonstration of a surgical procedure.) And I learned that the stethoscope was invented by a French doctor who was too embarrassed to directly place his ear on a woman’s chest to listen to her breathing! So he rolled up a bunch of paper and listened to her breathing through the paper tube, and voila!

Looking at amputation kits from the 1800s (and thinking about amputation pre-anesthesia) was creepy. Looking at skeletons of 12-week-old fetuses was kind of creepy. Looking at various body parts that John Collins Warren used as anatomical models hundreds of years ago was creepy. Looking at models of various eye diseases was kind of creepy. This museum is not for people with weak stomachs.

Moving on to stars. Linda, Mary, and I checked out Boston University’s public observatory night last night. It was one of the first warm, clear nights we’ve had in Boston this spring. There were two telescopes set up on a roof of one of BU’s buildings. We saw a couple of stars…Malexor A and B? Malexior? I can’t remember now! They were overshadowed by: Saturn. We saw freakin’ Saturn. It was incredible. I definitely recommend checking it out sometime; it’s every Wednesday night (when the sky is clear). I’d also like to attend Harvard’s observatory night. It takes place once a month, but includes a lecture.

One more mystery item to complete and then I head to Mystic on Tuesday. Thanks to all who participated in this year’s birthday list. 🙂

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