Key Players in the Early Modern Period

John Conrad Amman 1669-1724 A Swiss physician practicing in the Netherlands who wrote about instruction for the deaf and for those who stuttered.
Francis Bacon 1561-1626 A British statesman and philosopher said to be the father of experimental science. He set out principles of induction that became an important turning point in western scientific studies.
Juan Pablo Bonet 1579-1633 Bonet advocated using a one-handed manual alphabet to training the deaf. He attached great importance to early intervention and a consistent language environment. He also advocated the early teaching of speech on the basis of the manual alphabet and the printed word, arguing that the lack of early speech training is an impediment to later speech development.
John Bulwer 1606-1656 a physician who advocated the use of a universal gesture system for expressing words and abstract concepts. He developed a technique for lip reading by the deaf.
Jerome Cardan 1501-1576 developed the idea of substituting one sense for another. He used visual signs to teach deaf students to read.
John Comenius 1592-1670 known as the father of modern education. He was a Czech educational reformer and religious leader. His lasting contributions were language teaching picture books, especially ones that taught Latin to Dutch speaking children.
George Dalgarno 1628-1687 published a treatise on deafness and on the education of the deaf in 1680. Dalgarno advocated a natural method, believing that language for the deaf could be developed as is language for children with normal hearing. He placed great emphasis on early intervention, advocated finger spelling, and advocated that his manual alphabet be placed in the hornbook for teachers to teach all children.
Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519 best known as a painter, da Vinci was also mathematician, anatomist, and engineer. He dissected the human body, demonstrating for the first time the maxillary sinus and the moderator band. He also depicted the fetus in utero
Rene Descartes 1596-1650 a French mathematician and philosopher, considered to be the father of analytic geometry. His philosophy is based on the rationalistic premise "I think, therefore I am." He wrote on ventricular theory and other medical matters.
Jean Francois Fernel 1497-1558 a French physician who systematized medieval medicine. Besides being the first to use the term physiology, he was the first to describe appendicitis as an inflammation of the appendix, the first to talk about peristalsis, and the first to describe the spinal canal.
William Harvey 1578-1657 an English physician who was the first in the Western world to discover and describe blood circulation. He provided in detail the direction of circulation and the properties of blood as it was pumped by the heart through the body.
William Holder 1616-1698 taught Alexander Popham, a young deaf boy in 1659. He taught the student to write, copying letters of the alphabet. He also used a “distinctive features” approach to teach speech reading, relying on context to differentiate sounds from one another.
John Locke 1632-1704 the founder of British empiricism and promoted experimental studies in medicine and science.
Francis Lodowyck 1619-1694 a phonetician who published three well-known books on language. He invented a symbol system represented ideas or concepts which could be realized in any language. He also proposed a phonetic alphabet in which related sounds were denoted by related symbols.
Hieronymus Mercurialis 1530-1606 a Greek and Latin scholar and physician who wrote extensively about speech disorders. In his chapter in the book on children entitled On injuries to speech in general, Mercurialis identified stuttering as hesitation of the tongue. He saw the condition as one in which people were compelled to repeat the first syllable of words.
Paracelsus 1493-1541 a Swiss alchemist, physician, and astrologer. He countered Galen’s humoral concept of disease and substituted for it a chemical approach. He found the relationships between head wounds and paralysis and observed that defects of speech could occur in the absence of paralysis.
Ambroise Pare 1510-1590 a French physician and one of the most reknown surgeons of the European early modern period. Prior to Pare’s work as a surgeon, physicians considered surgery beneath their dignity, assigning the task to barber-surgeons.
Pablo Ponce de Leon 1520-1584 a teacher of the deaf. His method began with reading and writing and then moved on to teaching speech. He used a manual alphabet in instruction. He also used methods of association. For example, he taught meaning by pointing to the object associated with the written word.
Peter Ramus 1515-1572 a French scholar who taught at the University of Paris. He followed the lead of the Dutch humanist Rudolph Agricola (1444-1485) by returning attention to the study of dialectic, an area of rhetoric.
Franciscus Mercury van Helmont 1614-1698 was part of a 17th century effort to uncover universal languages. In 1667 he published a The Alphabet of Nature in which he argued that Hebrew was a proto-language and one that was closest to how the speech organs were intended to be used. He worked to show that the sounds of Hebrew were the ones most easily reproduced by the human vocal organs.
Andreas Vesalius 1514-1564 a Flemish anatomist who published a highly influential book: On the fabric of the human body, in 1543. His systematic dissections and the drawings in his book revolutionized the conception of various organs of the body and broke tradition with Galenic medicine.
John Wallis 1618-1703 taught two deaf students to speak, one, named Alexander Popham was previously a student of William Holder. Both Wallis and Holder claimed to be the first to teach the deaf to speak. Their battle for being first ended up being their main claim to fame as contributors to deaf history.
John Wilkins 1614-1672 a mathematician and natural philosopher and a key player in the Universal Language movement in England in the mid 17th century.
Thomas Willis 1621-1675 a British physician. He published Anatomy of the Brain (1664), Pathology of the Brain (1667), and The Mind of Animals (1672), describing the nervous system and its blood supply. He argued that the cerebellum was an organ in charge of the execution of involuntary movements.