Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Raise your martini glass to Sylvius

News from the SfN meeting...

Q: What does the Sylvian fissure and gin have in common?
A: Both can be traced back to one Franciscus Sylvius.

According to a poster by Andre Parent of Laval University, Flemish anatomist Franciscus Sylvius (1614-1672) not only gave his name to the prominent lateral fissure, but more importantly, the dude invented gin. Apparently in an effort to develop a diuretic for the treatment of kidney disease, Sylvius mixed the oil of juniper berry with grain alcohol. The concoction became known as jenever (juniper in Dutch) and geniévre (in French). The term was eventually anglo-thrashed into the word “gin.” English soldiers brought it back to their homeland where it became wildly popular. Not sure how well it worked for kidney disease.

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