The Test of Time

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This week, BBC Radio 4 airs The Test of Time, a new series in which Scientists look back at their ancient forebears and examine how much of that early knowledge still stands up to scrutiny.

The first episode, broadcast today, features consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Iain Hutchison, discovering the connections between today’s reconstructive surgery and techniques developed in South Asia in the third century BC.

The techniques of the School of Sushruta – and their dissemination from east to west – are illustrated in the episode through items held in the Wellcome Library, described by Sanskrit specialist, Dominik Wujaystik. (Pictured above is an illustration from one of the works discussed: J C Carpue, An account of two successful operations for restoring a lost nose from the integuments of the forehead in the cases of two officers of His Majesty’s Army… (London, 1810).

All of the series will be available to listeners in the UK through the BBC’s iPlayer.

Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane is the Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library.

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