Santiago Ramón y Cajal
So what about the man himself (since I have been showing his lovely drawings recently)? You can see him in the image above. He was born in Spain in 1852. He was apprenticed to first a barber and then a cobbler. He must have had a pretty interesting childhood because there is also a story of how he was arrested at the age of eleven for firing a homemade cannon at the town gate and destroying it (which I have to say, I find pretty impressive even if destructive). He wanted to be an artist, but his father, who was Professor of Applied Anatomy at the University of Saragossa, persuaded him to go into medicine. He never gave up on art and even wrote some science fiction stories called “Vacation Stories.” I myself have not read any of them (five are still around and in publication, though originally published in 1905/written in 1885-6), but they seem to have mixed reviews. Anyway, he did enter the medical field quite successfully and used Golgi’s stain to draw images of the neurons he observed in the brain, merging science and art. Ramón y Cajal did more than just draw them though. He was able to garner a lot of functional information from what he saw and created what later became the Neuron Doctrine, which is the foundation of modern neuroscience. He shared the Nobel Prize for 1906 with Camillo Golgi for their work on the structure of the nervous system. He was quite an incredible person and definitely worth a little biography.