Famous 18th Century Physicians

Find out more about the greatest 18th Century Physicians, including Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, Edward Jenner, Jean-Paul Marat, Benjamin Rush and Luigi Galvani.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 18th Century Physicians

 1 
Edward Jenner
(Physicians)

Edward Jenner
4
Birthdate: May 17, 1749
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berkeley, England
Died: January 26, 1823

Edward Jenner was an English scientist and physician. Referred to as the father of immunology, Jenner is credited with pioneering the concept of vaccines. Jenner's work laid the foundation for subsequent discoveries in the field of immunology; his work is believed to have saved more lives than any other work. In 2002, Jenner was included in BBC’s Greatest Britons list.

 2 
René Laennec
(Inventor of Stethoscope)

René Laennec
4
Birthdate: February 17, 1781
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Quimper, France
Died: August 13, 1826
Unlike most doctors, French physician René Laennec was also a skilled musician. It was while making his own wooden flutes that he invented the stethoscope, which helped doctors examine the chest cavity through auditory cues. His research also included work on melanoma, cirrhosis, and tuberculosis. He was a dedicated Catholic.

 3 
Antoine-Augustin Parmentier
(Botanist, Pharmacist, Physician, Agronomist, Nutritionist)

Antoine-Augustin Parmentier
4
Birthdate: August 12, 1737
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montdidier
Died: December 17, 1813

While in prison, in the aftermath of the Seven Years’ War, army pharmacist Antoine-Augustin Parmentier was forced to eat potatoes, which were considered fit only for prison ration and animal feed back then. Parmentier later persuaded the Paris Faculty of Medicine to declare potatoes edible and popularized them in France.

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 4 
Jean-Paul Marat
(Physician)

Jean-Paul Marat
4
Birthdate: May 24, 1743
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boudry, Switzerland
Died: July 13, 1793

French political theorist, scientist, and physician Jean-Paul Marat was a key figure of the French Revolution. He published his radical views in pamphlets and newspapers, such as L'Ami du people. He was held responsible for the September massacres. His assassination by a Girondin supporter made him a Jacobin martyr.

 5 
John Hunter
(military physician, physician, university teacher)

John Hunter
3
Birthdate: February 13, 1728
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lanarkshire
Died: October 16, 1793

John Hunter was a Scottish surgeon remembered for his efforts to study the human anatomy through investigation and experimentation. An early advocate of scientific method in medicine, Hunter was considered one of the most prominent surgeons of his generation. He is also remembered for paying for the body of Charles Byrne and displaying the skeletal remains in his Hunterian Museum.

 6 
James Barry
(military physician, Surgeon)

James Barry
4
Birthdate: November 9, 1795
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Belfast
Died: July 25, 1865

Military surgeon James Miranda Steuart Barry is most noted for making medical reforms and performing one of the first known successful Caesarean sections in Africa. Although during adulthood Barry lived as a man, at birth Barry was named Margaret Ann Bulkley and was known as a girl-child. Barry's birth sex became public after a post-mortem examination.     

 7 
Samuel Hahnemann
(Founder of Homeopathy)

Samuel Hahnemann
3
Birthdate: April 10, 1755
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Meissen
Died: July 2, 1843

The founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann was a qualified physician but disapproved of medical practices such as bloodletting that were used back then. He thus formed his system of alternative medicine. The apathy of his fellow physicians in Leipzig forced him to move first to Köthen and then to Paris.

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 8 
Thomas Young
(Physician)

Thomas Young
4
Birthdate: June 13, 1773
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Milverton
Died: May 10, 1829

Often referred as The Last Man Who Knew Everything, British polymath Thomas Young made significant contributions to a wide range of subjects like vision, light, energy, musical harmony etc. Especially famous for Wave Theory of Light, he also made significant contribution in deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Young-Helmholtz theory, Young temperament and Young's Modulus carry his legacy to these days.

 9 
Joseph Warren
(Physician, Military Leader)

Joseph Warren
4
Birthdate: June 11, 1741
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: June 17, 1775

 10 

James Parkinson
3
Birthdate: April 11, 1755
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shoreditch
Died: December 21, 1824

The man who lent his name to Parkinson’s disease, which he described as paralysis agitans in Essay on the Shaking Palsy, James Parkinson was a leading English surgeon. An avid paleontologist and geologist too, he often collected specimens and fossils. He and his son also offered the first description of appendicitis.

 11 
Luigi Galvani
(Anatomist, Physicist, Physician, University teacher)

Luigi Galvani
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1737
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bologna
Died: December 4, 1798

Luigi Galvani was an Italian physician, biologist, physicist, and philosopher. He is credited with the discovery of animal electricity and is considered a pioneer of bioelectromagnetics. He and his wife made one of the first forays into the study of bioelectricity when they discovered that the muscles of dead frogs' legs twitched when struck by an electrical spark.  

 12 
Franz Mesmer
(Doctor)

Franz Mesmer
3
Birthdate: May 23, 1734
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Swabia, Germany
Died: March 5, 1815

Though a doctor, Franz Mesmer studied the influence of astronomical bodies on the human body and on an invisible fluid inside it. He was a pioneer of animal magnetism, or mesmerism, which paved the path for modern-day hypnotism. Critics slammed his ideas and called him a fraud, too.

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
3
Birthdate: May 11, 1752
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Gotha, Germany
Died: January 22, 1840

A pioneer of physical anthropology, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach laid down one of the first racial classification systems for humans after studying human skulls, dividing mankind into five racial groups. Born into a family of academics, he was a prodigy. He was against scientific racism, though his theory promoted the degenerative hypothesis.

 14 
Hans Sloane
(Physician)

Hans Sloane
3
Birthdate: April 16, 1660
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Killyleagh, Northern Ireland
Died: January 11, 1753

British doctor Hans Sloane traveled to Jamaica as a personal physician of the 2nd duke of Albermarle and was soon engrossed in the natural species of the region. He documented his collections, and they eventually helped form the British Museum. He is also known as the inventor of drinking chocolate.

 15 
Jan Ingenhousz
(Botanist, Physician, Physicist)

Jan Ingenhousz
3
Birthdate: December 8, 1730
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Breda
Died: September 7, 1799

The man who discovered photosynthesis, Jan Ingenhousz was born in the Netherlands but later settled in England. He is also remembered for his pioneering research on thermal conduction and the prevention of smallpox and even successfully inoculated the Habsburg family against smallpox. He was also Maria Theresa’s personal doctor.

Johann Friedrich Struensee
3
Birthdate: August 5, 1737
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Halle, Germany
Died: April 28, 1772

Eighteenth-century German physician Johann Friedrich Struensee was the official physician of King Christian VII of Denmark, who was mentally unstable. He later started dominating the court and also began an affair with Queen Caroline Matilda. In spite of introducing several reforms, he was eventually beheaded, following a coup.

 17 
Ephraim McDowell
(Physician)

Ephraim McDowell
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1771
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Virginia, United States
Died: June 25, 1830

Considered the founder of operative gynecology, Ephraim McDowell was also the first person to perfect lithotomy, a surgical technique for removing stones obstructing urinary bladder. He came to limelight when he successfully removed a 20-pound tumor from Jane Todd Crawford’s ovary, later performing twelve more ovariotomies, out of which seven were successful, thus demonstrating the viability of elective abdominal surgery.

 18 
James Lind
(Doctor)

James Lind
3
Birthdate: October 4, 1716
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Died: July 13, 1794

James Lind revolutionized medical science by recommending lemon juice and citrus fruits as remedies for scurvy in British Navy officials. Though born into a Scottish merchant family, he ended up becoming a successful naval surgeon. His research also included the prevention of typhus among seamen.

 19 

William Beaumont
3
Birthdate: November 21, 1785
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lebanon, Connecticut, United States
Died: April 25, 1853

Nineteenth-century U.S. Army surgeon William Beaumont pioneered the study of human digestion. While treating a person named Alexis St. Martin, who had been near-fatally shot in the stomach, Beaumont discovered a lot of gastric processes and later published them as a treatise on the physiology of digestion.

 20 

Tobias Smollett
3
Birthdate: March 19, 1721
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dalquhurn (now part of Renton, Scotland Renton), Scotland
Died: September 17, 1771

Best known for his picaresque novels such as The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle, Scottish novelist Tobias Smollett was born into a family of lawyers and soldiers and initially attended medical training. Some believe he quit university without a degree, while it is also said he had served as a navy surgeon.

 21 
François Quesnay
(Former economist known for publishing the "Tableau économique" (Economic Table) in 1758)

François Quesnay
3
Birthdate: June 4, 1694
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Méré, France
Died: December 16, 1774

François Quesnay was a French economist and physician. He was a proponent of the Physiocratic school. He is best known for publishing the "Tableau économique" (Economic Table), in which he set forth the foundations of the ideas of the Physiocrats. He also wrote extensively on Chinese politics and society. He was married to a woman named Marianne Woodsen. 

 22 
Thomas Addison
(Physician, scientist)

Thomas Addison
3
Birthdate: April 2, 1793
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Longbenton, Northumberland
Died: June 29, 1860

The man behind the discoveries of ailments such as Addison's disease and Addison’s (pernicious) anemia, British physician Thomas Addison also co-wrote the first book on the effect of poisonous agents on the human body. He plunged into depression in his later years and eventually committed suicide.

 23 
George Bass
(Former Explorer, Surgeon known as one of the first people to explore the interior of Australia)

George Bass
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1771
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England, United Kingdom
Died: 1803 AD

British naval surgeon George Bass is best remembered for his exploratory voyage to Australia, aboard the Reliance. He explored areas such as the Sydney coastline, Tasmania, and New South Wales. However, he was declared lost at sea after disappearing on a commercial voyage to South America.

 24 
Anson Jones
(Politician)

Anson Jones
3
Birthdate: January 20, 1798
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Great Barrington
Died: January 9, 1858

 25 
Franz Joseph Gall
(Physician, Neuroscientist)

Franz Joseph Gall
3
Birthdate: March 9, 1758
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tiefenbronn
Died: August 22, 1828

German neuroanatomist and physiologist Franz Joseph Gall was the founding father of cranioscopy, or the determination of intelligence and personality traits from the shape of a person’s skull, now known as phrenology. He was also the first to separate the gray matter of the brain from the white matter.

 26 
Charles Bell
(Surgeon)

Charles Bell
2
Birthdate: November 12, 1774
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: April 28, 1842

Charles Bell was a Scottish surgeon, physiologist, anatomist, and neurologist. He was also an artist and philosophical theologian. He discovered the difference between sensory nerves and motor nerves in the spinal cord. He is also known for describing Bell's palsy. He played a key role in the creation of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School. 

 27 
Thomas Bowdler
(Physician, Chess player)

Thomas Bowdler
3
Birthdate: July 11, 1754
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bath
Died: February 24, 1825

Best known for publishing The Family Shakespeare volumes, which made Shakespeare’s plays appealing to children, Thomas Bowdler was also a qualified doctor. His technique of diluting Shakespeare’s works gave rise to the word bowdlerize, which describes the over-simplification of books, films, or series, for making them family-friendly.

 28 
Daniel Rutherford
(Former physician, chemist and botanist who is known for the isolation of nitrogen in 1772)

Daniel Rutherford
2
Birthdate: November 3, 1749
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: November 15, 1819

Best known for discovering nitrogen gas, Scottish chemist Daniel Rutherford was also initially a practicing physician. A skilled botanist, he also taught botany at the University of Edinburgh. His other inventions include the maximum and minimum thermometers. He also co-founded the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

 29 
James McHenry
(Surgeon)

James McHenry
2
Birthdate: November 16, 1753
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ballymena, Ireland
Died: May 3, 1816

Scotch-Irish American military-surgeon and politician James McHenry, who served as the 3rd United States Secretary of War, is noted as a signer of the United States Constitution from Maryland. He was elected a delegate to Maryland State Convention of 1788. He was instrumental in reorganizing the United States Army into four regiments and established the United States Department of the Navy.

 30 
Lyman Hall
(Founding Father of the United States, Governor of Georgia (1783-84))

Lyman Hall
2
Birthdate: April 12, 1724
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wallingford, Connecticut, United States
Died: October 19, 1790

Physician, clergyman, and statesman Lyman Hall was one of the three delegates of the Congress from Georgia and one of four doctors to sign the United States Declaration of Independence. He also served as Governor of Georgia for a year and co-founded the University of Georgia before resuming his medical practice. Hall County in north central Georgia is named after him.

 31 
Dean Mahomed
(Traveller, surgeon, entrepreneur, and one of the most notable early non-European immigrants to the Western World)

Dean Mahomed
0
Birthdate: April 12, 1724, 1759
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Patna, Bihar, India
Died: February 24, 1851

 32 
Peter Mark Roget
(Lexicographer)

Peter Mark Roget
2
Birthdate: January 18, 1779
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Soho
Died: September 12, 1869

 33 
William Cullen
(Physician, Chemist, Farmer, Academic, University teacher, Writer, Psychiatrist)

William Cullen
2
Birthdate: April 15, 1710
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hamilton
Died: February 5, 1790

Apart from being a prominent Scottish physician, William Cullen was also a main pillar of the Scottish Enlightenment. Not only did he treat luminaries such as philosopher David Hume, but he also treated the poor free of cost. A University of Edinburgh professor of medicine, he was also a Royal Society Fellow.

Jean-Étienne-Dominique Esquirol
2
Birthdate: February 3, 1772
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toulouse, France
Died: December 12, 1840

 35 
Ernst Heinrich Weber
(Psychologist, Physician)

Ernst Heinrich Weber
2
Birthdate: June 24, 1795
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lutherstadt Wittenberg
Died: January 26, 1878

 36 
Julien Offroy de La Mettrie
(Physician and Philosopher, and one of the earliest of the French materialists of the Enlightenment)

Julien Offroy de La Mettrie
2
Birthdate: November 23, 1709
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Saint-Malo, France
Died: November 11, 1751

 37 

Dominique Jean Larrey
2
Birthdate: July 8, 1766
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Beaudéan, France
Died: July 25, 1842

 38 
James Braid
(hypnotist, physician, hypnotherapist)

James Braid
2
Birthdate: June 19, 1795
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fife
Died: March 25, 1860

The Father of Hypnosis, James Braid used hypnotherapy as a treatment for scores of ailments such as paralysis and rheumatism. His research included the possibility of hypnosis as a tool to reduce pain during surgery. His methods were ridiculed initially but later paved way for the French school of neuropsychiatry.

 39 
David Bushnell
(Inventor)

David Bushnell
2
Birthdate: August 30, 1740
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Connecticut, United States
Died: 1824 AD

 40 
Herman Boerhaave
(Botanist, Physician)

Herman Boerhaave
2
Birthdate: December 31, 1668
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Voorhout, Netherlands
Died: September 23, 1738

 41 
Gideon Mantell
(Obstetrician)

Gideon Mantell
2
Birthdate: February 3, 1790
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lewes, England
Died: November 10, 1852

 42 
John Elliotson
(Physician, University teacher)

John Elliotson
2
Birthdate: October 29, 1791
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Southwark
Died: July 29, 1868

 43 
William Thornton
(Physician)

William Thornton
2
Birthdate: May 20, 1759
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Died: March 28, 1828

British-American William Thornton was initially trained in medicine and that is when he began drawing and sketching as part of his medical notes. He later won a contest for the design of the Library Company of Philadelphia's new hall. He also designed the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Matthew Thornton
2
Birthdate: 1714 AD
Birthplace: Ireland
Died: June 24, 1803

 45 

Georg Wilhelm Steller
2
Birthdate: March 10, 1709
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bad Windsheim, Germany
Died: November 14, 1746

German-born zoologist and botanist Georg Wilhelm Steller traveled to Russia on a troop ship. He was later part of the Great Northern Expedition, aboard the St. Peter, aimed at locating a sea route from Russia to North America. The Steller’s sea cow, discovered by him, went extinct later.

Giovanni Battista Morgagni
2
Birthdate: February 25, 1682
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Forlì, Italy
Died: December 6, 1771

 47 

Percivall Pott
3
Birthdate: January 6, 1714
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 22, 1788

 48 
William Stukeley
(Physician)

William Stukeley
2
Birthdate: November 7, 1687
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Holbeach, England
Died: March 3, 1765

 49 
William Hunter
(Physician)

William Hunter
2
Birthdate: May 23, 1718
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Long Calderwood, Scotland
Died: March 30, 1783

Physician William Hunter is remembered for his efforts in making obstetrics a branch of medicine. After observing medical students in France, he introduced the use of cadavers for dissection in Britain. The Hunterian Museum in Scotland started with a collection of his belongings, including books and works of art.

 50 

George Crabbe
2
Birthdate: December 24, 1754
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Aldeburgh, England
Died: February 3, 1834

George Crabbe was an English surgeon, poet, and clergyman. He began his career as a doctor's apprentice in the 1770s and later become a surgeon. After a few years, he pursued a living as a poet and also served as a clergyman in various capacities. He wrote poetry mainly in the form of heroic couplets. He was also a coleopterist.