Artist and Father of Modern Neuroscience: Who was Santiago Ramon y Cajal?
Keywords:biography, history, artist, neuroscience
Santiago Ramon y Cajal was born on May 1, 1852. Like Leonardo da Vinci, he bridged two disciplines that many saw as two separate worlds: art and science. As a child, Cajal had a gift for drawing but was a reluctant pupil. It was not until Cajal’s father took him to graveyards to study and draw the bones of ancient burials, that Cajal found a passion for learning about anatomy. After pursuing Medicine at the University of Saragossa, Cajal discovered slides of nervous tissue treated with the Reazione Nera, a technique developed by biologist and pathologist Camillo Golgi. Cajal refined this technique, eventually winning the Nobel Prize along with Camillo Golgi. Though his ground-breaking research was in the field of neuroscience, Cajal's artistic vision played a significant role in his scientific papers and discoveries. He felt that the most essential quality of a scientist was “the ability to see clearly.”