Born Apr. 24, 1794, in Maureilhan, in the department of Hérault; died Dec. 5, 1867, in Montgeron, near Paris. French physiologist. Member of the French Academy of Sciences (1828; permanent secretary from 1833) and Académie Française (1840). Fellow of the Royal Society of London (1835).
In 1830, Flourens became a professor at the Museum of the Jardin des Plantes, and in 1855, at the Collège de France. His main works dealt with the excitation, structure, and functions of the nervous system, the development of bones and teeth, and the structure of the skin and mucous membranes. In 1822, Flourens located the site of the respiratory center, which he called the vital junction, in the medulla oblongata. He discovered that perception of the external environment and voluntary movements were functions of the cerebral hemispheres, but he erroneously believed that the brain functioned as a whole and not that different areas of the brain hemispheres possessed specific functions.
WORKSRecherches expérimentales sur les propriétés et les fonctions du système nerveux dans les animaux vertébrés. Paris, 1824.
Expériences sur le système nerveux. Paris, 1825.
Théorie expérimentale de la formation des os. Paris, 1847.
Cours de physiologie comparée. Paris, 1856.