Paul Broca

Paul Broca

French surgeon, ethnographer, anatomist and anthropologist
Date of Birth: 28.06.1824
Country: France

Biography of Paul Broca

Paul Broca was born on June 28, 1824, in the family of a military doctor in Sainte-Foy-la-Grande, Gironde department in southwestern France. From a young age, he was familiar with research methods and material selection. His close interaction with doctors determined his career in the medical field. The foundation of Broca's fundamental views is based on Darwin's theory of natural selection.

In 1844, Paul Broca obtained a higher medical education and began working as a prosector, practicing simultaneously in several hospitals. From 1848, he conducted active scientific research, publishing the results of his studies in medical journals. In the same year, he founded the "Freethinkers Society" (a society of materialists with views similar to Charles Darwin's), which led to persecution by the authorities.

In 1850, Paul Broca conducted a comparative study of the anthropological characteristics of ancient and modern skeletons by excavating burial sites in an old Parisian cemetery. This led to his fascination with physical anthropology and the development of methods for studying the shape, structure, and external features of the skull and brain.

In 1859, Paul Broca founded the first Anthropological Society in Europe in Paris and served as its leader until the end of his days. In 1867, he became a professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Paris-Sorbonne.

In 1872, Paul Broca founded the journal "Revue d'anthropologie" (Anthropological Review), and in 1876, he established the Higher School of Anthropology and an anthropological museum, both in Paris. In 1880, shortly before his death, he was elected a lifelong member of the French Senate.

Paul Broca passed away in Paris on July 9, 1880, at the age of 56. He left his body to science, and his brain is one of the exhibits in the "Museum of Man" in Paris.

His unique contribution to science lies in transforming anthropology into an academic discipline in its modern understanding. By laying the foundations for the study of human morphology in various specific directions, Broca also created universal methodologies for anthropological research that are still used by scientists worldwide today.

Paul Broca considered himself to have achieved the highest level of success in all aspects, as reflected in his speech after being elected as a senator: "I am too happy! The boldest ambitious dreams that a scientist can have, what any mortal could dream of, have come true. If I were as superstitious as the ancients, I would consider my present election a harbinger of a great catastrophe, perhaps death itself."