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Peter Wise

Roquefort les Pins, France

Email: wisepeter@hotmail.com

Home page: http://tinyurl.com/BernardBlog

No, he wan't actually my hero....but Claude Bernard, 19th century France's most eminent medical scientist inspired me - even as a medical student. So I later drilled other medical students about his principles. I even used his ideas in my own research - 150 years on.

There comes a time when we have to take off our white coats. Gardening and tennis are not enough! I retired to live in France, so what a great opportunity to delve deeper into his life. What did I discover ? Bernard had already been a frustrated dramatist and a somewhat un-dedicated pharmacy apprentice. Deflected into medical studies by a drama critic who didn't like his writing, Bernard was a single-minded, self-centred workaholic who 'married money' - an arranged marriage just to finance his research. But what incredible discoveries he made about how the body worked and how it failed. He got into controversies like no other - but survived to become a revered member of the elite Academie Francaise.

He did use people however, and such person was Marie, a delectable multilingual Russian journalist who would translate into all the languages he didn't speak. She also gave him a sort of home when he divorced from a wife who (perhaps understandably) had opposed every fibre of his being. Was it now love that he had found - or was she just a useful ally who had to be kept on board.

You would have to read A Matter of Doubt to judge for yourself - a biographical novel that represented the only way I knew to transmit his story and the richness of Paris, Lyon and the Beaujolais - the backdrop of his picturesque life.

Interests: Medical research and medical science writing

Published writer: Yes

Freelance: No