Events: January – June 2017

Our programme of events for the first half of 2017 is now available. We have some really exciting events coming up this year including our annual Goodall Symposium which will celebrate a very special medical milestone – the 150th annivesary of the publication of Joseph Lister’s ground-breaking article on antiseptic surgery. There’ll also be the chance to learn more about our digitisation project “Uncovering our Medical Instruments”, and our beautiful College Hall will house a unique pop-up art installation as part of Festival of Museums. Download our programme (7MB) to find out more.

Events programme January - June 2017

Events programme January – June 2017.

The image of catgut ligature used on the front of our events programme is a nod to our Goodall Lecture, Safer Surgery – the Lasting Legacy of Joseph Lister in June 2017. In addition to samples of catgut ligatures in our museum collection, our archives contain correspondence between Joseph Lister and William Macewen, on the preparation and use of catgut. Both had articles in the British Medical Journal of 1881 (i, 150, 185) detailing the development of this material as a key component of antiseptic surgery.

The Goodall Symposium: Celebrating 200 years of the stethoscope

Thursday, 16th June 2016. 6:30-9:00pm

Join us for an evening of talks celebrating the 200th anniversary of the invention of the stethoscope. Discover how techniques for listening to the heart have developed from the very first stethoscope invented in 1816 to ‘Harvey’, the cardiopulmonary patient simulator.

Programme for the evening:

6:30pm – Registration and light refreshments
7:00pm – How Laennec invented the stethoscope, Mr Roy Miller FRCS(Glasg), Honorary Librarian
7:20pm – How I was taught cardiology, Professor Ross Lorimer FRCP(Glasg)
7:45pm – Tea/coffee break
8:00pm – The Goodall Memorial Lecture: From Laennec to ‘Harvey’, Professor Stuart Pringle, Consultant Cardiologist Perth Royal Infirmary

There will also be the chance to see our special exhibition celebrating the stethoscope.

Laennec stethoscope

A Laennec style monaural stethoscope made from wood c1820.

The event is free to attend but please book in advance for catering purposes. Contact library@rcpsg.ac.uk or call 0141 221 6072.

Our Goodall Symposium is part of the Glasgow Science Festival 2016.

What led Laennec to invent the wooden stethoscope?

This year our annual Goodall Symposium (16th June 2016) will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the invention of the first stethoscope. We’ll be taking a look at the origins of the stethoscope and how the methods and technologies for listening to the heart have developed over the last 200 years. In this blog our Honorary Librarian, Mr Roy Miller discusses why the stethoscope was invented.

Laennec stethoscope

Made of wood and brass, this is one of the original stethoscopes belonging to Laennec.
Image from: Science Museum London / Science and Society Picture Library

The stethoscope was invented in 1816 by French physician, René Théophile Hyacinthe Laennec. While a physician in Paris, Laennec was examining a woman with an apparent heart condition and found that he was unable to use hand or ear to examine the patient without embarrassment. He records the event thus:-

“In 1816 I was consulted by a young woman labouring under general symptoms of diseased heart, and in whose case percussion and the application of the hand were of little avail on account of the great degree of fatness. The other method just mentioned [the application of the ear directly to the chest] being rendered inadmissable by the age and sex of the patient, I happened to recollect a simple and well-known fact in acoustics, and fancied, at the same time, that it may be turned to some use on the present occasion. The fact I allude to is the augmented impression of sound when conveyed through certain solid bodies – as when we hear the scratch of a pin at one end of a piece of wood, on applying the ear to the other. Immediately, on this suggestion, I rolled a quire of paper (24 sheets) into a kind of cylinder and applied one end of it to the region of the heart and the other to my ear, and was not a little surprised that I could thereby perceive the action of the heart in a manner much more clear and distinct than I had ever been able to do by the immediate application of the ear.”1

Laennec soon replaced the rolled up paper cylinder with a hollow wooden tube. This had a small hole at one end and, at the other, a conical hollow. A plug fitted into the hollow to allow the physician to listen to the sounds of the heart. When removed, the physician could listen to the sounds of the lungs. Unlike its modern equivalents it was designed to be listened to through only a single ear so it did not have the familiar Y-shaped double earpiece. The original stethoscope could also be unscrewed in the middle for carrying in the pocket.

Illustration from De l' auscultation mediate (1819) by Laennec showing his design for a wooden stethoscope.

Illustration from De l’ auscultation mediate (1819) by Laennec showing his design for a wooden stethoscope.

In the 1820s the Glasgow Medical Journal reported on the introduction of the stethoscope to Glasgow medicine, pointing out that the tool was at first “suspected, ridiculed, and sometimes abused as a piece of pompous quackery.” By the late 1820s such suspicions were dismissed as use of the stethoscope grew. By the 1850s, the stethoscope had become one of the doctor’s most vital tools.

The Goodall Symposium takes place in the College on the 16th June 2016 @ 6:30pm. It’s free to attend but please book your place for catering purposes – please contact library@rcpsg.ac.uk or call 0141 221 6072. You’ll also have the chance to see our latest exhibition which focuses on the development of the stethoscope over the years.

This years Goodall Symposium is part of the Glasgow Science Festival 2016.

1. Laennec RTH. De l’’auscultation mediate. Paris : Chez J.-A. Brosson et J.-S. Chaudé, 1819

Events and Exhibitions Spring/Summer 2016

Take a look at the exciting events and exhibitions we’ve got planned for the next few months! We’ve got lots of interesting things planned including our Festival of Museums event on the 14th May which is all about the marvellous medicine of Glasgow, our Goodall Symposium celebrating 200 years since the invention of the stethoscope, and our annual Gardeners Lecture.

events and exhibitions

Click on the image to download a copy of our events and exhibitions leaflet (7MB).

And don’t forget… The library and our exhibition space are open to the public on Monday afternoons, 2-5pm (excluding bank holidays).

Goodall Symposium – Conflict, Casualties and Caring in the First World War

Monday, 13th October 2014, 6pm for 6:30pm

Join us for our annual Goodall Symposium which this year commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Our evening of talks will focus on the role of the medical profession during WW1 and will look at how patients were cared for both at home and on the front line.

Patients and staff on the ward at the Red Cross Hospital, Springburn c1914

Red Cross Hospital, Springburn c1914. Taken from the photograph album of Nurse Annie Allan (Scottish Women’s Hospitals) RCPSG 74/2

Event Programme

18.00 – Registration and finger buffet

18.30 – Injured in France – Treated in Scotland
Mr Roy Miller (Honorary Librarian, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow)

19.00 – A Field Ambulance in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia
Dr Alastair Glen

19.30 – Tea and coffee break

19.45 – The Goodall Memorial Lecture: Casualties in the British Expeditionary Force, France and Flanders 1914-1918
Mr Tom Scotland

The event is free and open to all but please book as places are limited. Contact library@rcpsg.ac.uk or call 0141 221 6072.

CPD Approved – 2 non clinical credits 91877.