Bowditch, Henry Pickering

Bowditch, Henry Pickering

(1840–1911) physiologist; born in Boston, Mass. (grandson of Nathaniel Bowditch). After serving in the Civil War, he studied medicine at Harvard, and in Paris and Leipzig. While studying in Germany in 1871, he discovered the heart's "all or nothing" contractile property and the affect of delphinine on cardiac contractions. He returned to join the faculty of the Harvard Medical School (1871–1906). In 1885, he proved that nerve fiber cannot be tired out and he conducted experiments using curare that led to nerve-blocking during surgery.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.