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Celebrating the 400th anniversary of Thomas Willis's birth

11 January, 2021 in Neuroscience News

Celebrate the 400th anniversary of Thomas Willis's birth by learning more about the impact Willis and his work had on neuroscience! Watch this space every Monday for new content by the University of Oxford.

On 27 January 2021, we will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Willis, who laid the foundations of modern neuroscience. To mark the occasion, we invite you to have a look at the series of video interviews prepared by the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford (UK). These interviews feature historians, neurologists, neuroscientists and writers who will discuss various aspects of Willis’ life.

Video interviews to celebrate the 400th birthday of Thomas Willis

Thomas Willis (1621 - 1675) 400th Birthday - Erica Charters in conversation with Zoltán Molnár.
Professor Zoltán Molnár talks to Dr Erica Charters for a History of Medicine perspective on Oxford physician and Father of Neurology Thomas Willis. (released on Monday 11 January 2021)

Thomas Willis (1621 - 1675) 400th Birthday - Alastair Buchan in conversation with Zoltán Molnár
Professor Zoltán Molnár talks to Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Alastair Buchan to learn more about Thomas Willis's residence and base for scientific discoveries, Beam Hall.



About Thomas Willis

His name is usually associated with ‘the circle of Willis’ and coining the word ‘neurologia’, but his work also formed the foundation of basic neuroanatomical description and nomenclature, and comparative neuroanatomy and he is the founder of clinical neurology.

Willis’ way of observing and treating patients was different to that of many of his contemporaries, owing to his original observations and critical views. He made pioneering observations of various neural structures, and his system of nomenclature is still used.  Willis was also the first person to propose that the higher cognitive function of the human brain comes from the convolutions of the cerebral cortex.

By combining his insightful clinical observations with his original pathological studies, his enquiring mind established links that are still astonishing 400 years on. For these reasons, Willis’ name and achievements should be proclaimed to every new generation of anatomists and neuroscientists. 

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