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Renowned medical historian Dr Owsei Temkin dies

13 Aug 2002

Dr Owsei Temkin, former director of the Institute of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, has died at the age of 99.

Acclaimed by many as one of the founding fathers of the history of medicine, his first major book 'The Falling Sickness', published in 1945, traced the history of epilepsy from prehistoric times through to the nineteenth century.

Dr Owsei Temkin, picture courtesy of Johns Hopkins UniversityThroughout his career, he was actively engaged in interpreting the science and art of medicine, both classical and modern, from the fifth century BC to the modern era of today. Temkin was author of hundreds of articles on the history of medicine, and he wrote a dozen books. His most recent book, '"On Second Thought" and Other Essays in the History of Medicine and Science', was published this year by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

A widely recognised scholar, Temkin was elected to the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. He was president of the American Association for the History of Medicine, and from 1948 to 1968, he was editor of The Bulletin of the History of Medicine.

Temkin was born in Minsk, Russia in 1902. He and his parents emigrated to Leipzig, Germany, in 1905. Temkin studied medicine and history of medicine at the University of Leipzig, where he received his medical degree in 1927.